My Life as an Insomniac

My life as an Insomniac

For as long as I can remember I have had trouble falling asleep. In fact, my mother used to tell folks that when I was a baby she would come in to check on me before going to bed and my eyes would be open. She never turned the light on so I was just lying there in the dark, awake in my crib.
As I grew older I didn’t much think about it. I would go to bed and go to sleep. Just that easy. But getting married and having responsibilities must have awakened those very early sleep patterns. I just don’t get sleepy at bedtime. In fact I have stayed awake, reading a book until the wee hours and was still not sleepy.
I have tried several different types of sleep aids including prescriptions, over the counter pills, and even liquor. For many years I had a small drink of a favorite alcohol, such as rum, on going to bed. That seemed to work best.
Lately I discussed this with my doctor who gave me a sleep aid, clonazepam. This is not really a sleeping pill. It is supposed to relax you and make you drowsy. Falling asleep is still up to me. I took this pill for several years and found that it caused excess saliva which created much distress. It was embarrassing in public and at night made my pillows wet.
Finally my doctor gave me a sample pill called Roserem. This, too, is not a sleeping pill as such, but a relaxing aid. However I experienced waking up many times all during the night. It can also cause a very upsetting action in which you get out of bed without being fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. I had this happen. The morning after I took the pill I came into my den to log on to my computer. I glanced to the left of my desk and my extension phone was missing. I searched high and low without finding it and was expecting to have to purchase a new one. Later in the day I took a waste basket outside to empty it and saw my phone on the pavement. I haven’t taken a second Roserem pill since.
I am weaning myself away from the clonazepam because I hate the drooling. I purchased an over the counter sleep aid, Unisom, to help me get to sleep. It doesn’t work any better, but with a small drink of rum I go bye-bye. However, you would not believe the dreams! They cover every imaginable activity I have ever experienced as well as some I’ve never encountered. And they go on all night long. I wake up a couple of times during the night but usually can go back to sleep most of the time. One night last week I woke at 2am and was not able to get back to sleep. Finally, at 5am I got up and stayed up the rest of the day. Didn’t even get a nap.
Several years ago I made a short trip to Illinois to visit my grandson and his girl friend. My daughter was with me and we spent the 2 nights we were there in the friend’s guest bedroom. I had conferred with my former doctor before the trip and he gave me a prescription for 2 pills of Ambien. I took one as I crawled into bed and within 5 minutes I was out. I had no dreams and no sensation of time having passed when I woke. It was wonderful. When I tried to get a full prescription for the Ambien I was not able to. The company was having some problem with the drug and it wasn’t available. I still haven’t been able to get it.
I’m sure others have similar problems and hope that they have found help in some form. I would love to hear of success.

Why do I Make Jewelry?

 Good question.  I make jewelry because it satisfies my creative urges.  I would love to draw pictures, but I have no talent for this.  I have produced all sorts of needlework such as sewing, knitting, needlepoint, crocheting, making afghans for each of my offspring, even grandkids and babies as they come along.  But I don’t do much of any of those things anymore. Cooking doesn’t appeal to me, nor gardening.  I don’t have the energy to tend to a yard and I don’t have nuch of a yard where I now live, but I have pots of greenery on the porch. I have to remember to water them.

 However,  I can excel in making jewelry.  I search the various sources for beads that have character, color, design and a different style.  I am completely addicted to making necklaces, bracelets and earrings. I haven’t counted but I may have almost 200 jewelry pieces.

 I recently disposed of the bed in my guest room and turned it into a studio so I can spread out and not have to clear the table when guests come for dinner.  When I wander into my “studio” I am immediately struck by the need to work on the current project.  I lose myself in it.

 The fact that I have not sold a piece of jewelry in more than 4 months depresses me, but doesn’t deter me from making something new, or finishing a project started a while ago, or, making a trip to the bead shop. 

 I only wish that the love I have for my designs would translate into an equal monetary appreciation for my work.  Casual friends have all commented on the various pieces, but they are not buyers.   

My Etsy store is at

Some of my jewelry is on Ebay as well as Pinterest, classifiedads and a  few other places.

I’d like to hear your comment.  I’ll reward you with a piece of my jewelry in the color you prefer.

Denyer Family in England

I just found some of my late husband’s ancestors in England. I have not been doing much genealogy lately, but I keep a toe in the water so that if something turns up I can add it to my family’s history.
These ancestors, the Endicotts, were found in the 1841 census of a town in a part of London on the Thames. The town is Deptford and has a tumultuous history.
Deptford is a district of south east London, England, on the south bank of the River Thames. It is named after a ford of the River Ravensbourne, and from the mid 16th to the late 19th century was home to Deptford Dockyard, the first of the Royal Navy Dockyards.
Deptford and the docks are associated with the knighting of Sir Francis Drake by Queen Elizabeth I aboard the Cook’s third voyage Golden Hind, the legend of Sir Walter Raleigh laying down his cape for Elizabeth, Captain James aboard Resolution, and the mysterious murder of Christopher Marlowe in a house along Deptford Strand.
My husband’s ancestors were not famous, but to me they are a part of my children’s lives, so it’s important to know them. The genes of the elders were passed on to their descendents. The men were sawyers, which meant they sawed the wood for carpenters. None of my children are carpenters, none work with wood, but all three are creative.
Many years ago my daughter and I spent 2 months on a trip to Europe. We were in London for about a week. However I was not doing much family history at the time and had no knowledge of the Deptford connection. I did know that my husband’s grandfather was born in London and we visited the house where he lived as a teenager. I had written in advance to the people who currently lived there to ask for permission to see the house. They were very hospitable and we were treated to a tour of the 2 story home. We even discovered a street named “Denyer” and tried to find other Denyers, but the telephone listing was so many pages long it would have been impossible to pin down any relatives.

Now I wish I could go back and visit Deptford. I have much more information than I had in 1973 and perhaps could find connections to our family. But my age makes that journey impossible. My daughter who accompanied me on the trip to Europe would like to make the same trip with her daughter at some point in the future. I hope that she will be able to do it.

Thanksgiving Trip

Kevin & me

Kevin and Circe at the levee

My daughter Circe and I just returned from a wonderful 6 day trip to visit my grandson, Kevin, and his girl friend, Trish.  Trish, who is a very successful marketing business owner, paid for our airline tickets and we stayed in her 1893 historic home in Edwardsville, IL.  She has beautifully restored it and filled it with treasured antiques.  She made a delicious meal for Thanksgiving and gave me 2 recipes that I am going to make for Christmas dinner.  (I will post them in a separate listing.)

We visited a quilt and antique exhibition in Edwardsville where I was astonished at the creativity in the beautiful quilts.  The hand stitching was so tiny you could hardly see it and the original designs were truly works of art.

Then Trish and Kevin drove us all over St. Louis, about 16 miles from Edwardsville, to see the places of interest that we had missed on previous visits.  There is a very high levee on the edge of the Mississippi river to prevent flooding.  It’s about a mile long and completely covered with artistic graffiti.  These are not your usual gang related scrawlings.  They were skillfully and imaginatively created by obviously talented artists.  I was mesmerized by the diversity and talent.  The picture of Kevin and I was taken in front of one of these designs.

The meals we had were delicious.  Trish is a terrific cook and we ate well.  We also visited Dewey’s in St. Louis for pizza.  I normally don’t eat much pizza, but we had 2 varieties and I almost couldn’t quit.  They were the best I’ve ever tasted and there’s nothing like Dewey’s in my area.

My grandparents lived in St. Louis and many of my ancestors as well, but not knowing exactly where they had resided we didn’t attempt to locate their homes.  I feel pretty sure that they probably don’t exist anymore, but that is another search that maybe I will make someday.

We really enjoyed spending time with Trish, her amazing son Patrick, and Kevin.  Since we hadn’t seen them for about 2 years there was a lot of conversation.  I’m very grateful to Trish for making our trip possible and her generous hospitality.  Love her.

Kevin, Trish and Patrick

My Thoughts on Airline Travel

I am extremely disturbed by the airline service currently in force.  Service is not the correct terminology.  It does not exist.

Last month my daughter took a trip to Florida from her home here in California.  She booked her flights with United, but from my experience all the airlines are pretty much the same.

She left Burbank airport at 7 am and arrived in Florida at 6:30pm.  A flight of 6 hours duration actually took 8-1/2 hours.  The flight stopped in Denver for a layover of 2-1/2 hours and a change of planes. The same schedule applied on her return flight.  Only this one took longer.  She was actually in the air 7 hours but in transit for 10-1/2 hours, also changing planes.

Her 2 hour layover on the way home was in San Francisco where her son lives, but she was not able to see him.  She was  in a secure area and could not leave, nor could he come in.  They could not meet.

I do not understand the reasoning behind the airline  scheduling.   However, from a consumer’s standpoint,  it is extremely inefficient.  In the past I often experienced a stopover where some passengers exited and others boarded after which the plane resumed flight.  This I can understand, but to have to wait two hours for another plane is grossly inefficient.  Not only that, but there is an extra charge for each landing and takeoff.  Passengers must pay for this delay and inconvenience.

Not only is the scheduling inconvenient for the paying passengers, but the service is degrading as I write.  No longer can you have pillow or a blanket without a charge, but you must wait in your seat until the bathroom facility is not in use.  If you are not close to the bathroom someone else will surely beat you to the door.  So you must wait.

The seats are so close together that your legs are cramped within minutes.  Don’t try crossing your legs.  And you must pay for the earphones to try to take your mind off of the discomfort you are experiencing.  On a long trip doctors advise walking up and down the aisle to help prevent blood clotting.  That is not acceptable by the attendants, nor even possible.  Have you tried getting out of your seat if you are next to the window?  Good luck with that.

Does anyone understand the baggage restrictions  anymore?  Each airline seems to have their own conditions which some passengers might not be aware of until checking in.   Let the buyer beware seems to be the ordinary.  And bring lots of cash with you.

On a short trip you can always drive.  Hah!  With the current price of gasoline rising daily that is not a valid option.   And on a long trip you must deal with stayovers in a motel or hotel.  I won’t  get into that.

What is a traveler to do?  In my case I no longer travel.  My back problems do not allow me to stand in line for any length of time so that my carryon and I can be searched and screened.  Because I have knee replacements I must endure a patdown which now may be an x-ray.  While this is going on my carryon disappears into never-never land but is available for anyone to snatch or remove items from.  This is the only part of flying that I actually have no problem with.  I don’t like it, but I want everyone searched and screened so that the bad guys are not on any flights.

Whatever happened to service?  Does anyone complain about the lack thereof?  No.  We must travel for a variety of reasons and the airlines know this.  They can do whatever they want because we are captives to their regulations.  We are at the mercy of the airlines.  They can schedule flights whenever they want and charge whatever they want and take away whatever they want and still we fly.  We have to.  There’s no other way to get where we want to go.  It makes me angry.  I can’t see any way we are going to get relief from their greed and inconsideration.

While writing this I did not address the fact that in many cases the pilots are not given enough lay over time to rest between flights which puts all of us in jeopardy.  We are at the mercy of the airlines.  Something should be done.  I just don’t know what.

Bead Shopping Downtown

Yesterday my daughter and a friend and I went to the fashion district in downtown Los Angeles to shop for beads.  There were 10 bead shops within a 2 block area to visit and we went to almost every one.  This was a pleasurable ordeal for me.  It was hot, I am not able to walk or stand for long periods of time and each store had so many choices I had to look at everything.

I am an old lady and I warned my daughter that I might have problems.  I was right.  I had purchased a cane with a seat so that I could sit when my back gave out, but as the morning passed it became more and more difficult for me to endure it.  I was determined to make it through the visit because I knew I only had one chance to do this and wanted to make it worthwhile.

The bottom line is that all 3 of us were pleased with what we found and what we bought.  The friend does not do beading, but she found some gorgeous bracelets and some other items.  My daughter bought enough materials to make dozens of jewelry pieces and I found the items I was looking for as well as some beautiful unusual beads and a gold chain that is absolutely lovely.  I can’t wait to get started on making them into necklaces and earrings.  Among us we purchased well over 100 items and together spent over $163.  Some items were only $1-2 so how could we pass them up?

I managed to get through the day in spite of the back pain, the heat and the fatigue.  And we are planning another trip in the next month or so because we missed one special place and didn’t have enough time in one other.

I’m so happy that my daughter, Circe, has joined me in my jewelry making enterprise because I could not have done that trip alone.  Her jewelry is not like mine at all.  She uses a lot of natural materials as well as colorful designs and ribbon.  So look for our new pieces on my Etsy shop in the future.  I will post the date here when I list the new designs

Expert advice on preventing a burglary

Many, many years ago my home was burglarized.  I was home at the time, asleep in my bed.  The burglar came in through my unlocked back door, took my purse and a camera, film and nothing else.  This happened on the night before I was to leave for a 2 month trip through Europe with my daughter, 9 months after my husband’s death.  We were all packed, ready to go and had returned home from a bon voyage party.   Fortunately my passport and money was with me in the bedroom.  The purse contained just a few dollars, but the camera belonged to my mother-in-law and I was planning to use it on the trip.

I called the police, then my mother, who was going to stay in my house while I was gone and then went out to replace the camera and film.  The police said it was probably a teenager who went from house to house looking for an unlocked door.   I lived in an area that did not have a high crime rate.  In fact, that sort of crime never entered my mind.  I had lived in an unlocked home for my entire life.  The police said they would look for the purse, but it was never found.

From that time on my house is always locked.  I now have dead bolts on both doors.  I don’t feel confined.   I just feel safer.

There was a column in the Daily News recently which had tips on ways to help prevent home robberies.     Most burglars will not spend time trying to get into a house where the residents have taken steps to make it difficult.

Here are some things you should do:

Get a dog with a loud bark and keep him in the house at night and when you are away.

Leave a few lights burning and a radio on at night.

Plant large bushes in front of windows.

Get dead bolts for all your doors.

Get a security system.

Watch for strange cars that slowly pass through the neighborhood and note the description, and a license number if possible.

Pay attention to strangers, especially teenagers, who don’t belong in your neighborhood.

These steps will help keep the average, amateur burglar away from your home, but they are not foolproof.  You may have expensive items that others are aware of and are desirable.   If a professional burglar wants your property there is not much you can do to prevent him getting it, but the advice given here will usually deter the ordinary thief.