Getting a Good Night's Sleep + Josephine Baker + Kidnappings
May I recommend
Getting a good night’s sleep.
Now this is actually quite a tricky one, because I literally cannot tell you when I last had one of these… Like a time when I put my head down on the pillow at a reasonable hour in the double digits and then opened my eyes 7.5 hours later and got out of bed? No, I don’t know her. That’s probably why I love a micro-nap.
I am extremely good at falling asleep, but unfortunately, I am even better at waking up between 1 and 3 am to a joyful period of Hating Myself For Doing That; Questioning A Fundamental Life Choice; Worrying About Something Over Which I Have No Control; and my all time favourite, Remembering That Thing I Said in High School.
In any event, this has meant that I have an arsenal (ha - arse) of solutions that sometimes work for me, and may, sometimes work for you:
Bath before bed (not sure this actually works, but it is really flipping fun and indulgent). If, like me, you live in a house the gets quite cold in the winter and sweltering in the summer, then a bath is a delight. Warm you up when you’re cold, obviously, but surprisingly effective at cooling you down before going to bed, when it’s a revolting humid July night in Ottawa.
Visualise an object that starts with A, really visualise it. Next visualise an object that starts with B. Go through the whole alphabet like that. The theory is that generating random images in your brain mimics the random images of dreaming and you’ll trick your brain into thinking it’s already dreaming, thereby calming it down and going to sleep. Since your brain is the one that came up with this plan, however, I’m not sure HOW effective it is… It has worked for me in the past, though. Also, I defy you to think of an image that starts with an “A” that isn’t “apple.”
Go through some very unexciting series of things you know a bit about. I try to name all of the Kings and Queens of England from Alfred the Great. Not to freak you out with how cool I am, but if I stay awake I can usually make it to Edward III before I come up empty. Although, to be truthful, I am probably forgetting a few Eadwigs and Ethelreds in there…
Sleep upside down… What I mean by this is to put your feet where your head is, and your head where your feet are. Sometimes, at 2:30 am, this fresh change in perspective distracts my stupid brain and tricks it into thinking I’ve just gotten into bed and then I can fall back asleep. If you are en-coupled, the danger of this is obviously your partner’s disgusting feet touching your beautiful face. It’s a good one to try when you’re desperate.
CBD oil. When I’m feeling particularly anxious about something — a work problem, a specific worry, a global pandemic that seems to have no end — I bring out the big guns and take a small amount (under half on the dropper thinger) of CBD oil. This seems somewhat effective - I still wake up in the middle of the night, and I still think about the worrying thing, but I’m just way more chilled out about it, and usually can easily go back to sleep. Since I’m taking such a small amount, we can’t be sure if it’s the placebo effect or if it’s actually working, but that’s fine.
“Your body gets almost all of the rest it needs, just by lying there relaxed and you don’t need to *actually* sleep.” My father told me this when I was kid, when - surprise - I was a bad sleeper. I have not done any research whatsoever on whether or not that statement is true, but he was a doctor and I took his words as authoritative. This is a helpful thing to think about when you’re tossing and turning, and sometimes you then do just relax and trick yourself into falling asleep.
Turn on the light and read a few pages of a real, physical book (NO PHONE BROWSING). This one is actually almost always effective. The action of turning on the light, acknowledging the sleeplessness and then distracting my brain with a couple of pages is really soothing and sleepy-making. It’s also the one that I am most resistant to and only do as a last resort. Why am I like this? Also, I don’t know why I was so judgemental about phone browsing at the beginning of this paragraph… I literally wake up every night, so I am obviously not a sleep expert. Maybe if I did surf the Interwebs for an hour when I was wide awake I would fall back asleep. If you look at your phone when you can’t sleep then you are making the best decision for yourself in that moment and I support you and love you.
Are you a good sleeper? Let me know in the comments below so I can be eaten alive by jealousy.
A great quick bio of Josephine Baker
My forthcoming novel, THE HONEYBEE EMERALDS features Baker pretty prominently. I love everything about this iconic woman’s life.
Finding success as a comic dancer in St Louis, she later moved to New York and found further success in Broadway revues. In 1925 she sailed to Paris and became a theatrical sensation. Alongside her acclaimed number featuring the banana skirt, she also appeared on stage with her pet cheetah who wore a diamond collar.
In Paris Baker was friends with writer Ernest Hemmingway, posed a a model for Picasso and was a contemporary of playwright Jean Cocteau. Soon she began to travel to other countries to perform, but her appearances were often opposed by churches who deemed her performances immoral.
An American diplomat kidnapped in Mexico
This is a super interesting long read about a wild kidnapping in Mexico in the 1970s. Read it for the last couple of lines, which unexpectedly made me cry.
Yelton told Andra that John had never shown up for his meeting with the ranchers. When the consulate reopened after its daily lunch break, the staff had discovered an envelope addressed to “Mr. Yelton” tucked beneath the front door. Inside was a two-page note scrawled on green stationery. The consul general showed this note to Andra, who could see that it was written in her husband’s hand. The words, however, were clearly not John’s own.
“I have evidently been taken hostage by the People’s Liberation Army of Mexico,” the note began, before segueing into a list of demands. The group wanted a $500,000 ransom, to be hand-delivered by Andra in two installments. The first payment of $250,000 was to be made at the Hotel Fray Marcos in Nogales, Mexico, two days later. Andra was then to fly to Mexico City, check into the airport Holiday Inn, and await instructions on how to make the second payment.
The passage of time in the Pan-demmy
This is a great, quick funny read on how we’re all living in a wormhole of never advancing time
A week was once measured over the course of seven days. Our testing showed that this has been way too short, for way too long. So we made a big adjustment: a workweek now takes an entire year. From Monday to Friday, you will feel like it’s been (and you will actually age) an entire year. This is non-negotiable. This brings us to…
What I currently look like while trying to put on hard pants
A fulltime job
These often make me laugh
Emma Thompson might be my fave
Boy, I hate Rory
Your brain is not your friend
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