SoCS: catching some zzzz’s

Zzzzzz….

Zzzzzz…

Oh, I guess it is time to get up.

Sleep has not been one of my better skills for, um, more years than I care to count. There have been lots of reasons for this, some of which I can identify and some of which I can’t.

The last few weeks, though, I’ve slept better than I have for quite a while. I think a large part of it is having gotten through several months’ worth of firsts since Nana’s death last year, including the first anniversary of her death.

I’m sure that some of it is also that the COVID infection rate in my state (New York) and especially my region (Southern Tier) is under control and we are able to carefully progress with opening more stores and services. The vast majority of people realize that we have to continue to wear masks and maintain physical distancing and not have large gatherings, so there is hope that we can keep our case number very low, using extensive testing and contact tracing to keep any cases from becoming outbreaks.

I will admit that, although I’m sleeping better than I have been, I’m still not up to seven hours a night, which is – or, at least, was long ago – the amount of sleep that seemed to work best for me. Will I get there eventually or revert to more severe insomnia? I don’t know.

For now, I’m just grateful to be catching some more zzzz’s.
*****

Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is a word with zz, which I kinda-sorta did. Find out more here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/06/19/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-20-2020/

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley! 
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early morning jot

I got an early start on jotting today.

I had tried to follow the advice from medical professionals and magazines to get to sleep relatively quickly, but no.

I did, however, have a poem coalescing in my head, so I got up to write the draft down before I lost it.

Midnight found me just finishing the draft.

Of course, I can’t share the draft. It needs work and it is one that is meant to make its way into my manuscript, so I want to be careful about how and where it is published. Most publishers count blog posts, even in a wee, little blog like Top of JC’s Mind,  as prior publication and they won’t publish anything that has already been made public.

It isn’t too late to join Just Jot It January! Any jot will do and there is a prompt for each day if that is what helps you to get a post out. You don’t have to post every day, either. Just link to the post on Linda’s blog for that day to increase your blogging community and find new blogs to read. Enjoy!

jjj-2017This jot brought to you by Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2017/01/08/jusjojan-daily-prompt-jan-8th17/

SoCS: lack of concentration

Since my mother-in-law died unexpectedly this spring, I have been having a real problem with lack of concentration.

I’m sure it hasn’t been helped by a string of other events that have been demanding time and attention…

I find myself starting something, having something else pop into my head that I need to attend to, hopping over to that – and maybe something else – or two somethings else – before getting back to what I was doing in the first place.

I’m sure it isn’t very efficient…

I realize part of it is the result of my seeming inability to sleep consistently. And the fact that there is just a lot to do on a lot of different fronts.

I think part of it, though, is that it is genuinely harder to concentrate for extended periods of time.

My brain gets tired.

I find myself playing mindless games on the computer while the television is on in the evening. Often, the television isn’t demanding too much concentration in and of itself. I used to use part of evening TV time to visit and comment on other blogs, but I can’t seem to do it anymore.

It takes too much concentration.

Have I mentioned that I’m having a problem with concentration lately?
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “concentration.” Please join us!  Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/07/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-916/

SoCS badge 2015

 

Revenge of the Fitbit

For months, I have been wearing a Fitbit Flex fitness tracker.

I am not obsessed with it.

I do keep track of my step goal, which is modest so as not to be too daunting.

It does point out that my sleep really is a pathetic as it seems.

A few days ago, though, I had to take a break from wearing it. My wrist broke out in a rash from the band and I needed to let it heal.

Fortunately, I was able to find a stretchy cloth bracelet to put my tracker in, which is much more comfortable to wear.

Unfortunately, it is hot pink, which is not a favorite color of mine.

At least, people will be able to see me coming…

One extreme to the other

Since December 17, I haven’t been at home alone. The combination of different family members on vacation from work, on semester break, and visiting from afar has meant that my usual pattern of spending most of the day Monday through Friday alone has not been in evidence.

I don’t want people to think that I am a hermit. I am often out on errands, visiting people, or volunteering, but I am able to have solitude and time to read, correspond, and write on my own schedule.

Yesterday, B headed out on a business trip. Today, I brought T back to Syracuse. The new semester begins tomorrow.

I am home alone.

I do have commitments on my calendar, but I hope to spend a lot of time catching up on writing, both for my blog and my poetry projects. I’m also hoping to get at least one poetry submission sent this week. While I am waiting for a response on a few submissions, all of my acceptances have now been published, so it would be helpful to get some more work in the pipeline.

I am hoping to minimize time spent on cooking and other chores. Tonight, I had avocado sushi for supper and I already have heat and eat food ready for tomorrow.

I wish I could say that I would be productive in the evening, but it is unlikely to be the case. I don’t tend to sleep well even when someone is in the house; being here alone is likely to mean even less sleep.

I do hope to get enough sleep to have energy to accomplish things during the day.

Will I succeed?

Stay tuned.
*****
This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! Start by visiting here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/18/just-jot-it-january-18th-elegance/

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today.

 

Jotting at an obscure hour

My body is not co-operating with the whole sleep thing tonight, so I am awake when Linda’s post appears on schedule at 2 AM. Of course, my brain is not capable of creative thought at the moment, but it isn’t likely to be later in the day either, given that I won’t get much sleep.

Hence, this much more jot-ty than usual post.

I generally tend to the pontificating end of the scale…
*****
This post is part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. Join us! Start be visiting here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/15/just-jot-it-january-15th-leadership/

JJJ 2016

To find the rules for Just Jot It January, click here and join in today.

Sleep (or lack thereof)

One of the features of wearing a Fitbit is that you get a weekly report. Mine arrived in my inbox this morning and reported that I had averaged 3 hours and 50 minutes of sleep in the last seven nights.

This is not good, although, to be fair, the last week was worse than typical. While I do often have trouble sleeping, I usually have more good nights’ sleep thrown into the mix.

I actually do go to bed at a reasonable hour and spend eight to nine hours attempting to sleep. I’m not fighting off sleep on purpose. I also follow a lot of the advice on sleep hygiene, but its helpfulness is limited.

Last week was busy and also featured flares of some chronic health issues, one of which I will write about later this month as September is its “awareness month.”

I promise not to be too graphic…

Acceptance drama!

Alternate title: What happens when you check Submittable late at night when you can’t sleep.

Since coming back from Hawai’i, I’ve been having lots of trouble with sleep, so I got up and decided to check Submittable, which is a tool that many literary journals use to host submissions. I wasn’t expecting much news, because journals also send emails, so I was shocked to see an acceptance! I was excited! Also, slightly terrified, because it seemed that I had inadvertently broken a cardinal rule of simultaneous submissions, which is to immediately withdraw an accepted poem from any other journal which has it under consideration. Most journals only accept previously unpublished work, so it is important that you notify them promptly so that they aren’t spending time reviewing a poem that they can’t include in their publication.

I powered up my desktop, which has my main inbox – which, granted, is overflowing with the mail backlog from traveling. I thought that I had reviewed everything I received in Hawai’i, but, somehow I missed the acceptance email from Wilderness House Literary Review  – which they had sent on July 3rd. I was shocked to read that they accepted all three of the poems I submitted for their next issue!

I quickly wrote a reply, about how excited I was to appear in their journal and apologized for the delay in replying. Then, I brought up my personal submissions database and found that I needed to send notices to only two other journals, because a couple of others had already rejected these poems. Fortunately, each of these journals still has one or two of my poems to consider.

By this point, my pulse had been racing for a while, and going back to bed was out of the question, so I took advantage of the six hour time difference to message E in Hawai’i. I rattled on about this whole wonderful-but-slightly-nerve-wracking drama until I calmed down a bit.

But I knew I still wouldn’t sleep so I wrote this post, scheduling it to come out at a more reasonable hour for most of my readers who share my time zone.

At whatever time anyone does happen to read this though, I am pleased to announce that my poems “(Not) the aunt I remember”, “Fifty-four” and “Downy” will be published in the fall online edition of Wilderness House Literary Review in early October.

You can be sure I will publish the link here at Top of JC’s Mind when it becomes available.

And maybe, in an hour or so, I’ll be able to fall asleep…

back home

I’m sorry, dear readers, for being absent for the past week. I flew home from Hawai’i Tuesday, arriving home on Wednesday afternoon without having slept. Since then I have been in a bit of a fog.

OK – more than a bit.

I am notoriously bad at changing time zones. It takes me about a week twice a year when we go on and off daylight savings time to adjust my sleep schedule, so the six-hour time change from Hawai’i Standard to Eastern Daylight Time has been a struggle. I am alternating between nights where I get little to no sleep and ones where I am so exhausted that I sleep eight or nine hours. I have been trying to catch up on the most important things that I missed being away from home for five weeks, such as visiting the elders and our younger daughter and some re-scheduled appointments, but I haven’t had much brain power to put together posts.

LOL – Not that this post is that profound!

I can at least let you know that there will be some more Hawai’i posts coming as I get access to some more photos. There will also be some commentary on recent events and potentially a squealing, excited post if any of the poetry submissions I did while in Honolulu result in acceptances. I am sparing you any disappointing posts when I get rejections (but will tell you that I have already received several rejections. It’s an advantage of putting in a bunch of submissions in a short time that the rejections aren’t as daunting because you still have some submissions under consideration.)

I had been trying to keep up on reading and commenting, but even that fell apart over the weekend. I’ll be trying to catch up with that – and sorting through the 800+ email messages in my inbox – this week.

Stay tuned and thanks for your patience!

JC