29 September 2011

in celebration of national coffee day

At home, I have four ways to make coffee:
  • drip coffee: Nice and normal and stays warm for hours, although it will take on that burnt coffee taste if you leave too little in the pot and cook all the enjoyment out of the flavor. I am not, however, saying I don't drink it after it's taken on said flavor. I'm also not against heating up coffee in the microwave, by the way. I realize that the microwave, by its very nature, changes the molecular arrangement of my coffee and therefore the taste, but I DON'T CARE.
  • French press: Somewhat disturbingly, all real French people I know have never heard of this. Where did it come from? Why did we make it French? Did we think it gave the coffee a certain je ne sais quoi, perhaps a taste of cigarettes, chocolate, lavender fields, boeuf bourguignon, and a waiter who refuses to make eye contact with you at the cafe? And yes, I originally got this because it had the word "French" in the title.
  • espresso machine: I got this for free at a garage sale up the street from my parents' house in Iowa. It did not come with an instruction manual; I totally would've paid a quarter to get that. My sister and I spent the better part of an hour trying to figure out how to work it without making a mess. We were not successful, but at least we figured out how to make espresso. If you want your espresso served with hot water all over your mother's counters and floors, that is.
  • Italian espresso maker: When I lived in Rouen, France, I had an Italian roommate. She used one of these little contraptions to make her coffee, and once she let me taste it. I almost spit it out, it was so dark. Not wanting to appear uncouth and like a weak American {no! We are a strong people! How else do you think we settled this entire country full of Starbucks and expressways?}, I drank the rest of it like a shot. And then later had a stomach ache. And then mysteriously was never around when Annamaria offered coffee again.

But recently, one of those trusty coffee methods broke on me.

The drip coffee.

"WHY AREN'T YOU WORKING?!?!" I, as you can tell from the all-caps sentence, shouted at the coffee maker one morning.

"I paid $10 for you six years ago at Walgreen's. Why doesn't ANYONE make a quality product any more?!?!" I said this as I tried to figure out which other coffee-making method to use and thought about that website for First World Problems: this "ooh, which fancy coffee maker should I use?" quandary definitely qualified for that.

The problem wasn't that I couldn't make coffee and have my morning ritual; the problem was that something I'd paid good money for—and was clearly a high-class product if Walgreen's was carrying it—had broken.

$10, people. That is good, good money, especially considering I bought it before I actually had a paycheck. I think the process went like this:

Soon-to-be-boss: Kamiah, we'd like to offer you a job. Can you start in two weeks?
Young, Naive Me: TWO WEEKS?!?! I have two weeks to pack up, move out of my parents' house—eh, maybe I'll just leave some of these things here. You know, like my high school yearbooks and a pair of slippers and all these clothes and my American Girls dolls. Yeah, I'll do that. That'll lighten the load and I bet my parents will appreciate finding pieces of me all over the house—find a place to live in Chicagoland, settle in, and figure out how a grown-up dresses every day for work? Just two weeks?
Boss: Your panic and focus on packing {and what not to pack} makes me doubt my decision. However, your ability to say everything out like that, just as if you were making a bullet-point list, is something intriguing.
Me: Oh no, I'm cool. I'm fine. I'll just make a to-do list to handle all of this. Item a1a: Buy coffeemaker. I think I saw one at Walgreen's the other day. Yes, I need to buy that and the second season of Mary Tyler Moore. Priorities are so critical.
Boss: [Pause as he once again reconsiders the smartness of hiring someone who will probably base her work wardrobe on a TV show from the 70s.] See, you did it again. You say something that freaks me out, but then you finish strong with something about priorities.
Me: How about we bond later? I need to get over to Walgreen's in case they've run out of that coffee maker!

After how excited I was for that coffee maker, how dare it break. I felt a little bit like it broke my trust.

So I did what any good American would do: I went out and bought something bigger. This time, I upgraded to Target.

How far I've come from Young, Naive Me—and how helpful of my coffee maker to show me that. It maybe could've shown me without breaking, but since it's an inanimate object, I'm not sure how it would've accomplished that.

27 September 2011

love is like money

That's the message that was waiting for me today when I flipped my Kids Thot-a-Day Calendar, the one I've been using almost every year since I was in 4th grade.

I've written about this calendar before—twice, actually.

The first time is in one of my earliest posts {ah, memories}, and it includes some of the real zingers from this supposedly encouraging and—I should stress this—made to be encouraging for children calendar.

The second time is focused on one of the truly encouraging and helpful daily sayings.

Most of the sayings in my Kids Thot-a-Day are just that: truly encouraging and helpful. If they weren't, I wouldn't keep using it, seeing as I'm not a glutton for emotional punishment.

I'm more a glutton for taking care of my inner child, and that's why I use this calendar that I've had since I was little—it makes me feel connected to that little girl and what life was like growing up in that house on the Mississippi River bluff.

But really, if every day had a saying like today's—

Well, it'd be like taking my inner child to see a bunch of puppies. Puppies who had little bows in their hair because they'd just gone to the groomer. Puppies who were all named after flowers and puppies who wanted nothing more in life than to cuddle with you while you read in bed.

It'd be like showing those puppies to my inner child and then kicking the puppies in front of her.

That's what it would be like if every Kids Thot-a-Day was like today's gem: Love is like money. You have to earn it.

Who says that to a child? To anyone, really, since we're all a mix of grown-up and childlike?

Is my Kids Thot-a-Day trying to teach children—by mixing in "puppy kicking" sayings like this—that not everything is wonderful all the time? That we can't all cuddle with puppies every day?

Are they hoping to prepare children for the realities of earning money?

Was this calendar put together in an era when all anyone ever said to children was: "Children should be seen and not heard"?

Did the proofreader mess up, and today's saying should say: "Love isn't like money. You don't have to earn it"?

What do you think my Kids Thot-a-Day was going for here?

24 September 2011

i'm gonna make it after all

Here's a little secret: about 8 miles in to the Air Force Half-marathon last Saturday, I wanted to quit.

Running is pointless, I thought as I shoved one foot in front of the other and glanced around for something, anything to distract me.

Who cares if I make my time goal? Who cares if I run the whole way? Who cares if I stop right now?

But as I've written about before, running is full of life lessons.

It teaches, for instance, that hard work is its own reward—but that sometimes, even with all your hard work, you won't get what you want. You can be disappointed. You can kick and pout. You can rage about the unfairness of it all.

Or you can keep putting one foot in front of the other, and extrapolate this one lesson from the running path to your career path or your lovers' lane or any other kind of path you find yourself on.

Running also teaches you that you're worthy of a goal. No, no one else would've cared if I'd stopped on Saturday. Maybe the guy behind me if I didn't do the nice runner thing and check around me before pulling off the side of the road. He probably would've cared if I'd run into him or broken his stride.

The goal was mine. The challenge was mine. And the reward would be all mine, too.

Once we leave school, we stop getting our gold stars—our extrinsic rewards that can make us feel good and well-liked and smart and like we're on the right path.

Used to this kind of reward system, we can—or I did, at least, maybe I shouldn't speak for you—start to feel like we're on a falling star, one that's fading and at the end of importance. Where's my reward for being a grown-up? Is there a trophy for making my bed every day for the last six years? {Will I get a bigger trophy when I get to ten years?}

Instead of grades and diplomas, we get paychecks and the satisfaction that we have done our work well. After school, how you understand "goal" and "achievement" does shift towards this idea that people will not always applaud what you've done—but that doesn't mean you haven't done well.

Running cements this lesson, this idea that even if no one else notices what you're up to, there will be satisfaction in a job well done. You set a goal, and your sense of achievement is worth it to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Last Saturday, the lesson running taught me at mile 8 was: You are like Mary Tyler Moore.

You may be familiar with my obsession with Mary Tyler Moore. If you aren't, you should read this. It may illuminate a lot about me, so if you don't want that illumination, maybe don't bother with the link.

Saturday at mile 8, I pulled on one of my mantras, my phrases that keep me running even when I think it's a silly thing to be doing instead of drinking coffee.

"You're gonna make it after all."

This is, by the way, a line from the Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song, sung while she tosses her hat in the air in a gesture that clearly says, "Yes, I know I'm gonna make it! I know it so much that I don't care about this hat or the fact that I'm standing in the middle of a street and people are looking at me funny! I'm gonna make it!"

Sometimes, this mantra gets shortened to: after all, which sounds a little more fatalistic and sad. It makes me think of people saying, "After all, at least we still have our health" or "After all, he still has the one good arm."

But I have to go with what works with my breathing and gait at that moment the mantra is needed, so last Saturday, it became make it after all, make it after all, make it after all, make it after all.

I know it sounds a tad ridiculous, but my mantra makes me think: Mary Richards wouldn't give up! No! Mary Richards would smile and wave at the people along the way! Mary Richards would finish this race and then later, she'd whip up dinner for herself and Rhoda and she'd use the good china and put some flowers in a vase—but she was worth it and she'd made it.

I needed that chant for about a quarter of a mile, and then we rounded a bend and this bright red and orange tree came into focus. With a view like that, even Mary fades and frays a little.

I'm gonna make it after all.

22 September 2011

ode to the cardigan {a poem}

Oh, cardigan—
you, most flexible of clothing pieces—
you make me feel like a blend of

Laura Petrie
{Oh, Rob-ing my way through a dance
in a poofy, twirling skirt,
entertaining the troops with the USO}

Sandy in Grease
{before, of course, she casts off her
goody-two-shoes so that she can squeeze into those shape-shifting
black leather pants}

a girl version of Mr. Rogers
{without, I should point out,
the puppets and
the little train set}

an Anthropologie ad
{photographed, I would hope,
in a house built by a Rockefeller
or a Vanderbilt on the rugged, rocky coast of New England}

Or, you, my dear cardigan—
in cream or black
with pearls or costume jewelry
buttoned-up or loose
with jeans or a pencil skirt—

you, my dear cardigan,
make me feel like just plain me:
A girl with options and layers.

21 September 2011


As I stood in the pack of runners before the start of the Air Force Half-marathon on Saturday, I worried about the pizza I'd had the night before.

Was it too greasy? What about the acidic tomato sauce—would I regret that today?

More to the point: would I throw up during this race? Was the banana and peanut butter on bread combo enough to counteract any ridiculous stomach/pizza interactions?

Running makes you think crazy things.

And maybe it makes other people think you're crazy.

Crazy to run for hours just for a medal.

Crazy to get up early on Saturday morning for weeks in a row so that you can run before the humidity gets too hot and bothered in your Midwestern town.

Crazy to worry about pizza and crazy to use phrases like "negative splits."

So I'm crazy. This is not a surprise.

Of course, I prefer terms like committed, focused, driven, goal-oriented.

But if you must, you can call me crazy.

And you should come run with me one of these days, and I'll show you how when you run in the early mornings, it sometimes feels like you've stumbled into secret world: quiet, yours alone, softly glowing, only your breath and the birds making noise.

I had a morning like that the other day: there was a fog, but it lifted during my 5-mile run, the clouds that had come down to earth going back up to their place just as I made my way around a lake.

The sun on the water, the mist in the air. On golden pond, as it were. I did a little skip step out of sheer joy, and then later on my drive to work, I thought about how if I hadn't gotten up early for my run, I wouldn't have known that it had been foggy and gray. I would've just looked at the bright sun and thought it came up without any big deal that morning.

But I'd been there to see it, the sun, burning away the fog. And when you've seen fog lifting and sun peeking, it's difficult to be in an unhappy mood for the day.

And that is why I run, or at least one of the reasons why I run: because I never know when I'll see the fog lifted.

19 September 2011

and a good time was had by all

With absolutely no context clues, I bet this picture makes very little sense.

Has she run out of things to say and will now start posting pictures of her looking at her watch? Is that supposed to be some sort of commentary on time passing and not knowing what to do with it?


No, I have not run out of things to say. And I hope I would never make a bizarre commentary like that. It sounds sad and post-modern.

That's my time for the Air Force Half-marathon this past weekend.

I have some more thoughts about my time running, including:
  • how I didn't make my goal time but how that's okay
  • how my mind wandered while running
  • how it's ironic that my last blog post was titled "slow down. you move too fast," but I spent a chunk of Saturday saying, "Swing those arms. Turn over those legs. Move a little bit faster."
  • how Mary Tyler Moore, Jesus, and my grandpa helped me push on at one point

But first I need to collect my thoughts from the 13.1-mile route where I dropped them.

14 September 2011

slow down. you move too fast.

I kicked through leaves today.

Just a small pile—strewn along the curb so that I could keep one foot up on the curb and one foot swinging through the leaves.

Step, kick.

Step, kick.

It was a rhythm that reminded me to slow down.

Slow down; you move too fast. Got to make this moment last now.

Slow down and see the small changes in the day around you.

Like on my drive to and from work. In the morning, I try to take mental snapshots of the trees that are just starting to change.

Snap: that one on Lorraine has one bunch of red. Just at the top, slightly to the right.

When I drive home, eight or so hours later, I try to see if more fall color has seeped into the leaves.

Is there more red? Is there any yellow? Orange?

If I simply sped past, focused on the next, I would miss these little changes.

I would, one day, be on a drive home from work—one of those days when the light filters just right and the blue of the sky is like a child's drawing—and I would realize, with a twinge of sadness, that most of the leaves had already changed.

Without me seeing it, really seeing it.

So as I kicked through leaves this morning and breathed in the almost-fall air {brisk, slightly, with a hint of humid memory}, I reminded myself to slow down.

Step, kick.

Step, kick.

13 September 2011

things i said in vegas

Last week, I was in Las Vegas for work, and no, really I did work.

I can hear you doubting me, thinking that I let go of all my Midwestern roots and grabbed the proverbial bull by the horns. {That bull's proverb is: What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Somehow, I don't think that matches well with other proverbs that generally encourage you to hold your tongue, work hard, and treat others fairly, even if they don't deserve it.}

I have no salacious, gossip-worthy revelations for you.

No confessions that I've been repressed my whole life and finally realized that—on the Strip at 4am.

I went on the Strip. Twice. Three times if you count my cab ride back to the airport.

And I spent both of those times saying, "Oh my, it's just so...so...bizarrely opulent."

I said this as I tried to speed walk past men handing me cards to strip clubs. Do not make eye contact, do not make eye contact.

Trouble is, when you don't make eye contact, you're more likely to run into one of those men as they step in front of you. Or you could run into any one of 317 people dressed up as Elvis. Or the guy dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow. Or the Wonder Woman—there were several of those, too.

I don't think I'm Vegas' target audience. A random sampling of things I have said in Vegas:
  • Is there some sort of Vegas clothing store that I don't know about? How did everyone else know what the Vegas uniform is? You know, just past your hips dress, impossibly tight, strapless. I don't own anything like that. I never want to own something like that. I wouldn't even know where to go for that.
  • Is anyone else thinking of that scene in Sister Act, the one with the nuns running through the casino? I realize that took place in Reno, but as I stared at the flashing lights, I kept thinking of Maggie Smith, a disdainful Mother Superior at her best, calling Reno Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • Why is it so loud all the time? I realize I sound like I'm 89 here, not 29, but when hotel room door clicked behind me every night, I relaxed. Quiet. Calm. Nothing clamoring.
  • I don't understand slot machines. I'm a classic girl through and through: I just wanted a simple slot machine. Put in a quarter, pull a lever, three spinny things go around. That's all I needed. But there are Star Wars slot machines, I Love Lucy slot machines, Wheel of Fortune slot machines, and slot machines that just look like video games. All you have to do is hit a button, which takes some of the tangible fun out of gambling, if you ask me. Which clearly no one did before designing Las Vegas casinos.
  • No, I will not go up to your room with you. A man on the elevator—another guest, I do believe—asked me to go to his room. I laughed in shock, which is the best way to handle being propositioned. And then I glared. The laugh-glare is a very useful response in Vegas.
  • All things considered, I'd rather be watching Gosford Park. I'd brought my most recent Netflix movie with me, and when faced with the possibility of standing in line for two hours just to get into a nightclub {and I didn't even have the proper clothes!}, I thought longingly of my little bit of period drama.
  • No, this isn't at all like the real Paris. Standing in front of the Vegas version of the Eiffel Tower, I realized that every part of Vegas I'd been to reminded me of the Champs-Elysees, which I never go to when I'm in Paris. The people. The gawking. The tourists. The slow walking. The noise.
  • Your tomato salad is $27? That is better than your $65 lamb, but are your tomatoes grown in soil from the Garden of Eden? Is your feta from goats that trace their lineage back to the three billy goats gruff? Do the English cucumbers in it make me able to speak in a real British accent? And do they come with the ability to watch Downton Abbey when it starts airing in the UK this weekend—obliterating the need for me to wait until next January because I don't want to demonstrate that patience is a virtue?
  • Why doesn't my room have a coffeemaker? My room on the 53rd floor was fancy. You could control the lights and the AC with the TV. You could make a spa appointment on the TV, too. There was a full-length window in the shower that went through to the bedroom: you could watch TV while you showered. {A lot centered around the TV in that fancy room.} The housekeepers replaced the CO Bigelow toiletries every day, even if you still had a lot left. {This means I came home with several bottles of lotion}.

    But try as I may, I couldn't find a coffeemaker in my room. This is, by the way, one of my favorite parts of staying in hotels: you can make coffee in your bedroom! I realize I could do this at home, but it doesn't seem as special to have your coffeemaker on your dresser along with your family pictures and the stuff you pulled out of your pockets last night.

    I looked in the closet. By the mini-fridge {being careful not to touch any of the snacks offered, should moving said snacks cause me to be charged}. I looked in drawers, even: maybe they hid the coffeemaker so that the room would look sleeker and more posh. I flipped through the TV options, thinking that, with such a wonder machine, perhaps it could make me coffee, too.

    No coffeemaker.

    When I went to the hotel cafe for the first time, I realized why my fancy room came without a coffeemaker: because coffee was $4.00. Just normal drip coffee. $4.00. Put a bunch of coffee-loving people in a situation where they've been out too late and yet still need to function during the day, and you will get lots of people paying $4.00 for coffee. Including me, although I didn't need coffee because I'd been out too late; I needed coffee because I needed some normalcy in my life there in Vegas.
  • What does it say about me that I loved the design of my hotel room so much, I took pictures of the wallpaper? It says, once again: you were not made for Vegas. But nice wallpaper.

07 September 2011

that's the way you spell success

Earlier this summer, I decided I needed a challenge, something to liven up my days, keep my mind churning and productive.

Faced with the heat and the feeling that said heat was mushing my brain, I needed something that would be the equivalent of sticking my head in a freezer.

Or something that would be like having multiple mojitos every afternoon on the verandah, which sounds refreshing but also slightly bordering on alcoholism.

In short, I needed a challenge that would keep me writing and wouldn't make me turn to drink. {Contrary to Hemingway and Fitzgerald, we don't all need to drink for creativity and memorable prose.}

Enter the 41 Day Challenge: Post every business day on my blog for 41 days. This had a lot to do with the number of followers I had at the beginning of the summer, and a somewhat desperate plea for more.

You can read the thinly-veiled desperation here.

And you can see me throwing down the gauntlet as a challenge to myself here.
That's what knights did to issue a challenge, right? They threw down a gauntlet? Or maybe they hit somebody with it? Or poked somehow with a spear? Also, I thought the gauntlet was an obstacle course that could kill you: as in "run the gauntlet." I should move on from showcasing my appalling lack of Medieval knowledge {and I should consider re-watching First Knight, I say: any excuse for Sean Connery!}.

Here as summer is turning to fall—I refuse to acknowledge your presence, Indian Summer, should you come—my challenge is over.

And I won.

I didn't really think through the prize thing, so if you have any suggestions, I'll take them. I just got a new car, so don't suggest that; I won't go allWheel of Fortune jumping up and down on you for that as a prize.

I made it through all 41 days, and like any self-respecting person who sets seasonal goals for herself, I've thought through the lessons of this challenge. I need to come up with a catchy phrase for this: Self-reflection after achieving a goal is crucial to making better goals next time. See? That's not catchy at all.

Lessons I Learned Over Summer "Vacation"
  1. There is always something worth noting in a day. When you have to come up with a blog post every day, you start to pay better attention to what's swirling around you. Suddenly, an interaction at Walgreen's with the photo desk clerk can enlarge into a story.
  2. I don't always have something to say. Even if there's something special about every day, which sounds decidedly like an Anne of Green Gable's sort of idea, that doesn't mean that I'll be able to come up with something just right—or even halfway right—to say about it.
  3. And it's okay to not always know what to say.
  4. When you don't know what to say, poetry is usually a good fallback. Please note, though, that this lesson may apply only in the writing world; it might not work to go about quoting Mary Oliver when you're not sure what to say on a conference call. I'll try it out and let you know.
  5. People actually read what I write. And sometimes, they even feel compelled to share something from their life with me. This continues to astound me and make me grateful. Thank you for reading.
  6. You can always find time to do something that interests you. This has the ring to it of something your mother would say to you, but it's true, which is why it sounds mother-like. There were days when I didn't know where I'd find the time—for this silly, self-set challenge that maybe no one cared about but me—and I'd think, 'So what? It doesn't matter if I miss one day! Who would point that out? Who would notice?' {More on those questions in a moment.} But I'd find the time, little slices here and there, to get something out. To meet the challenge.
  7. Personal challenges are more personally rewarding. Lack of a self-set prize aside, this 41 Day Challenge was worth it—if simply to test my commitment to writing.

    Those whiny questions in my lesson above have a deeper, less whiny root: Why do I do what I do? Why do any of us do what we do? Is it to win accolades from others? Is it to scratch and grab our 15 minutes of fame? How much of what we do is focused on gaining attention? If a blogger posts and no one comments, does that mean the post {and the time writing it} were in vain?

    I will admit an un-pretty side of me: when one of my best friends didn't know that I was doing this 41 Day Challenge, I was saddened. Offended a little. Hurt for sure. I don't talk about my blog too much in my outside-the-computer life, but I think I needed this summer's challenge to help me face an expectation I had and wasn't even aware of: I wanted people to become hooked on my writing, and there were certain people in my life that I expected/internally demanded to become hooked.

    But that's unfair—to me and to them. It means that I'm writing just to get attention, and it means that I've put some sort of blog reading requirement on friendship, which doesn't sound like a fun friendship to me, nor does it sound like a fun blog.

    Writing that's focused on accolades and notice and people fawning is more likely to be writing that doesn't ring true and right. It's more likely to come off sounding like an infomercial for a product no one would buy unless it was 3am and they couldn't get to sleep.

    So I had days when I wondered if it was worth it, this self-set challenge.

    And I realized that yes, it was worth it: it was worth doing for me. Not for anyone else. Once I fessed up to that expectation of accolades, I could more easily squash it and put it in its place.

    Don't you find that that's true? That if you try to ignore an emotion or a thought or some part of you that you'd rather not admit, then you suddenly find that that's all you can think about. If only you'd face it, full on and with gusto, then you could say to it, "You're not right, and you don't get to control me."

    The 41 Day Challenge was worth it for me. I proved to myself that I could keep up a steady stream of writing, even when I didn't feel like it. I broke down that desire for attention {for right now—attention tends to be a life-long problem}, and I wrote.

01 September 2011

night-time crazy

I woke up standing on my bed, pushing on the wall, throwing all my weight and muscle power into it. 

Actually, "woke up" is not the correct phrase.

As with every other time something bizarre has happened in the middle of the night, I was well-aware what was going on the whole time.

I was awake. 

My eyes were open. 

It's just that my brain was convinced of some alternate reality. 
I should probably back up a little bit here, huh? 


I am not a sleepwalker.

{I'm Kamiah Walker.  Funny!  Get it?!?!  I have been making walking jokes for years with my last name, and I predict that it will never get old.}

I'm more of a late-night crazy thinker, which is the only time the phrase "late-night" will ever be applied to me.

See, every month or so, I sit straight up in bed, awake, convinced that something rather impossible is happening.  In the past, I have thought:
  • that I needed to help load a van:  I got dressed and rushed outside.  I was late for the van loading, but I still took the time to brush my hair and pull it back in a ponytail.  Regardless of the fact that it was the middle of the night, I needed to keep up appearances.  When I got outside, I {not surprisingly} found no van.  I thought, 'Well, they'—sidenote: who were they? I still don't know—'must be late.  Now I have time to rest.'  And then I sat down on the front step and waited; I will not tell you how long.
  • that my friends Katie and Rachel were staying the night:  And I had gone to bed without a) saying goodnight, b) showing them where they were going to sleep, or c) making the bed. I felt, as you may guess, intensely guilty about this.
    'I'm a horrible hostess,' I chastised myself as I sprang from bed. It was winter, and in the winter, my apartment drops to 58 degrees at night {you can call me cheap; I call myself frugal and in love with burrowing under five blankets as if I were in Little House on the Prairie}. 'Who invites guests over and then tries to freeze them out after expecting them to make their own bed? Terrible, terrible hostess.'

    I bumped the thermostat up to 68 degrees, and then rushed to the linen closet to gather up extra blankets. I paused at the door to the guest room. It'd be creepy, I decided, to actually put the blankets on them, as if I were pretending to be their mother and was checking on them in the middle of the night. Acting quickly, I pulled open the door and threw in the blankets.

    'They'll wake up and find the blankets on the floor and take back all their nasty thoughts about how I'm a bad hostess,' I thought as I climbed back in bed, plotting out what I would make them for breakfast in the morning to further cement my hostess-with-the-mostess-ness. I don't know why I assumed that my very good friends were thinking very bad thoughts about me, but at this point, I think that should be the least of my concerns about my thought process. 
  • that a hand was coming through my bedroom window:  I told myself that if I hid under the covers, then the hand couldn't find me.

    And really, that makes a lot of sense. A disembodied hand doesn't have eyes; even a very small child knows that. I smiled to myself as I flattened my back against the mattress. 'He'll never get me now!' I thought with glee.

    Which inevitably leads to the question: How did I know it was a man's hand?

    Oh, it was clear. The nails were ragged and the hand was large and looked like it could palm a football. So clearly a man's hand.

    I slid out of bed, still under the covers, and then crawled—yes, on my hands and knees—to baby pug's room. {Yes, she has her own room. Okay, it's actually the same as the guest room featured in the "Katie and Rachel are sleeping over" adventure, but since she came at Christmas time, it's been her room.}

    I figured that if I could get Miss Daisy to protect me from the hand, I'd be set.

    Because everyone knows that disembodied men's hands are frightened of little pugs who wear pink collars.

    "Shhh, Miss Daisy, it's okay," I whispered. Whispering was important because even if the hand couldn't see me, it could hear me. I just knew it. "Okay, you're going to come with Mia," I told her as I eased open her kennel and tucked her under one arm.

    Crawling with a pug is difficult, by the way, even a sleepy one. Whispering to her about how you need protection doesn't make the job any easier.

You may, at this point, be concerned for my safety, and for that I say thank you. But rest assured, I've never harmed myself or caused harm to someone else. This brings me some level of comfort / quells the panic / pushes down the idea that I should have a sleep study done.

Actually, I'm more concerned for the logic that works on me in the middle of the night. At no point do I say to myself, 'Kamiah, this is not happening. There is no hand. Katie and Rachel aren't here. Don't worry about how cold it is in here and how people think you're a bad hostess. All this is in your head.'

No, instead, I talk myself out of it like this: 'Kamiah, you can go back inside now because the van isn't coming. You probably missed the pick-up because you were running late.'


It's lying. It's some sort of alternate reality. It's night-time crazy, and I don't know why the crazy comes out then.

Take this wall incident, for example. I woke up convinced that my walls were bowing in, and I needed to push back on them to prevent them from exploding. Hence the whole standing on the bed in the middle of the night and straining against the wall thing.

I was pretty sure that the walls were bowing because of the change in air pressure from Hurricane Irene, and here's how I talked myself out of pushing on the walls for the whole night: 'Kamiah, hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm. Also, it's already passed and moved into Canada. Finally, I don't care how many push-ups you can do, you will never be able to keep a wall from exploding. Now go to sleep.'

Why doesn't my brain say to me, 'Kamiah, YOU LIVE IN THE MIDWEST. There are no hurricanes here. You're going night-time crazy again, so get it together and go back to bed.'

But my brain never says that. In the middle of the night, it never says the logical thing, and I wake up the next morning with vivid memories of night-time adventures.  And then I very logically get out of bed and go about my day.


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