Thursday, 25 October 2012

Fired Up...

Hello Friends.

This past Tuesday I was getting ready to cook up some steaks in my pajamas. Not thick t-bone steaks or anything, but those thin skirt steaks you marinate for a few minutes and pan fry. And not real pajamas, but a threadbare sweats and t-shirt combo that I wear to bed but also wear for cooking because I do stain myself during food prep but it's a t-shirt for a Multiple Sclerosis fun run from 1992, who's gonna care if I get some soy sauce on there (except maybe some MS sufferers from twenty years ago)? Anyway, the drawback to pan-frying anything is the potential for smoke, it's detection, and the smoke detector going off. It throws me off my game and happens all the time. So I was annoyed when the raw steak just sitting on the counter caused the fire alarm to go off. But wait, that didn't make sense. I literally hadn't even turned the stove on yet. And the smoke detector wasn't going off, it was the fire alarm. The one for the whole building.

I sipped my Dr. Pepper more slowly, trying to think it through, while Jon yelled, "Oh fuck!" and turned off the tv. I hadn't overcooked anything, which was good, but the building was potentially on fire, which was bad. I made sure all the appliances were off. I ran into the bedroom and grabbed a sweater, and then put the sweater back and grabbed a hoodie. I zipped up the hoodie, but then reconsidered the sweater. You know how sometimes hoodies give you more bulk than you want but they're also so snuggly? I was about to share my thoughts on the subject with Dr. Jon who ran into the bedroom with his jacket and shoes on, threw me my jacket, and said, "What are you doing? Let's go! NOW!" I decided on the hoodie, put the jacket on over top, and we left our suite. It wasn't until we hit the stairwell of our building that it all started to hit. Hearing footsteps of people above and below me racing to get down the stairs. Seeing all the lights in the hallway and stairwell on that back-up setting while the alarm blared on every floor, hearing all the dogs bark, and all the languages of the tenants colliding in the lobby, where we swarmed out onto the street like ants to a toffee, it was just weird.

As several firetrucks arrived, police cars blocked the intersections, and residents of our twenty-storey highrise all clustered in a frantic lump that was close to, but sufficiently away from, our collective home, I wished I had spent less time decided on sweater vs. hoodie and more time putting on some goddamn pants. As I reported, I was in my threadbare, food-stained sweatpants and, it pains me to admit, underpantsless. I... have no defense for this, except to say that I'm not some sex-pervert. If you see me out and about, know that I'm in underwear. It's just a given. But there's something about pajama sweatpants where you just think, "We're not fancy here." You figure you're at home, it's private, you're loose and carefree. Worse case scenario, your sweats slide down a little and you hike them up absentmindedly. It's not like anybody's ever gonna see you. Unless the fire alarm goes off in your building and your priorities suddenly shift. Through the pockets of my jacket, I grasped my drawstring for dear life as Jon pressed neighbours for information. This was no false alarm, we were told. Nobody reported seeing any flames, as such, but the tenth floor was apparently filling up with smoke.

As firemen approached the building, presumably to asses the situation (and not pants me like I feared), we instinctively dispersed. There's a Wendy's behind our building (that emotion you're feeling is jealousy), and Jon and I got some burgers (thankfully he had the presence of mind to bring his wallet and the phone) and a table near the window while we theorized. From our vantage point, we could see, from lit bedroom windows and things, that they hadn't cut the power to the building. For some reason, that was an immense comfort. To me that said the blaze was containable. If it were an electrical fire (as we had overheard), surely it would make sense to cut the power if they thought the fire could spread. Jon pointed out that cutting the power didn't make sense as the firemen had to see where they were going and what they were doing, and there probably wasn't like a switch in the laundry room they could flip to suddenly shut the whole building down. We were encouraged when we couldn't see any smoke, but then discouraged when we could smell some. We were happy to see the firemen moving slowly and methodically to and fro, but unhappy when they slowly and methodically unfurled the giant hose. Minutes ticked by and soon it had been an hour and we were officially loitering in Wendy's. We went to a convenience store where Jon bought smokes and I bought gum and we walked back to the front of our home, smoking and chewing, and wondering what would happen next.

Dream: Take proper stock of my stuff.

Goal: Not achievable. The worst part about things you've always worried about actually coming to pass is that worrying about them didn't help in the least. The few minutes it took to hear the alarm, grab a coat, and walk briskly down the stairs all seemed to unfold naturally and almost calmly. There was just a sense of the natural order of events in a crisis. But then, as time passed and we knew we were out of immediate personal danger, I began to ask serious questions of myself that I didn't know the answers to. Why didn't I grab this or that personal memento when I had the chance? If I could go back and get just one thing out of there, what would it be? I have plenty of stuff, but no easy answers.

Plan: Accept that maybe the greatest things in my life are intangible.

It makes me sound like such an ingrate, in a way, but I could have dealt with losing my things. All the things we crammed into our little blue car a few months ago when we moved. All the things we've bought for our new little apartment. All the gifts of books and music and DVDs and furniture we've inherited from family and friends. It's cliche to say, but all that stuff is replaceable.

The Friday before the Tuesday blaze, Jon was away at a conference so I spent the night at my friend Steph's house. She has two little boys. Cole is two and Carson is 9 or 10 months. Steph and I talked and laughed while she cooked dinner. She did that thing you can do with little babies who can't walk yet but keep themselves busy anyhow and set Carson down on the kitchen floor nearby to keep an eye on him, while Cole ran back and forth grabbing all his different toy cars. I decided to sit with the immobile one and parked myself next to Carson on the floor. Cole decided on a car, ran to me, and kind of snuggled up under my arm, so we could all be together.

On Sunday I went and saw a production of Hamlet that was so good I forgot I was watching a production of Hamlet. This dude is so wounded by the fact that his father is dead, but makes thing even harder for himself by questioning his every decision, acting in haste, and destroying everything he loves. I was literally on the edge of my seat when Gertrude described Ophelia's drowning death, when Claudius appeals to the God's, "Forgive me my murder", when Horatio cradles a dying Hamlet's head in his arms.

Jon got back from his conference about 12.30 that night, had to be up at 6 am the next morning, but stayed up with me anyway, telling me all about it and catching up on my weekend, until we both fell asleep. Experiences like that can't be lost in fires, and I have to believe they'll continue, even if my books and furniture go up in flames.

After about two hours, we were all allowed to go back inside. Apparently the firefighters put out the initial blaze, they had to check every suite in the building, to make sure nothing had spread. I don't know the extent of the damage to the 10th floor, but we live on 6 and nothing was damaged.

If I look back at my blog these past few weeks, I've done a lot of complaining. I can't find a real job (though I am folding sweaters and selling jeans in a fancy clothes place now, which is better than a drugstore), I can't sleep, I can't contact Taylor Swift. But it doesn't take a fire for me to realize how lucky I am and how grateful I ought to be.

Also, turns out the reason for the fire was that some guy was trying to barbecue food IN his apartment! Like on an outdoor barbecue, but in his living room. God, I hope he was cooking steak as that would make a great closer for this anecdote. Can we agree he was cooking steak? He was cooking steak.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

An Open Letter to Taylor Swift...

Hello Friends.

The weird thing is, I don't think I've listened to the radio in years. I've heard podcasts and all day music channels and other people's iTunes at parties and things, but I can't say I've made a conscious effort to listen to the radio proper. Even in the car, Dr. Jon just uses his small booklet of CDs that he calls Travelling Music, which is cute. Anyway, all of this is to say that I really shouldn't know who Taylor Swift (one of the most frequently played performers on commercial radio) is, but of course I do.

According to Wikipedia, Taylor Swift has sold 22 million records and is the recipient of over 50 million digital downloads. She's won Academy of Country Music Awards, Bilboard Music Awards, Grammy Awards, and induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. She's appeared on CSI, as host and musical guest of Saturday Night Live, and on the cover of Vogue. She has released only four albums. This year she will turn just twenty-three years old. She's got a lot going for her, to be sure, but an enormous weight on her shoulders. I can't imagine what kind of pressure she's under, but I do know what it's like to turn twenty-three. I've been doing it myself for almost seven years.

Dream: Get a letter to Taylor Swift.

Goal: Achievable. I used to work in an office building who's seventh floor was taken up by Sony Music Canada. This guy who worked there presented himself to me as a real mover-and-shaker with the company. Every time he'd see me in the lobby or cafe in the building, he'd say, "Hey, James! Wanna get snacks together?" I never occasioned to take him up on his offer, but when I mentioned my desire to contact Taylor Swift, he told me he could get some fan mail directly to her. I was ectastic and handed off my letter, but then was shocked to find out that Taylor Swift wasn't even on the Sony Music label. I wrote my friend an angry note, telling him I had wasted my time.

So he calls me up and he's like, "I misled you" and I'm like, I'm just... This is exhausting, you know, like, we are never getting snacks together. Like ever.

Plan: Post this letter on my blog anyway, and hope she gets it. Here goes.

Dear Taylor Swift,

How are you? Like how are you really? Because I have to tell you, it doesn't sound like you're having a whole lot of fun. Admittedly, I'm not familiar with your entire canon, as it were. I don't know all of your songs, but I know the big hit singles. Now I'm no expert in psychology or relationships, but it sounds like you invest a lot of time and energy into boys who don't treat you very well. Or rather, turns out they don't know to treat you, and you end up hurt. Drag-race, Taylor Swift! But you're a young girl who's only been with young guys and guess what? Young guys don't know shit! You released your first album of heartbreak songs when you were fifteen! You know what I remember about my contemporaries when I was fifteen? Dudes lighting their farts. My point is, you've got to keep things in perspective. Look at all you have! Look at the audience of young, young girls just waiting to hear what you have to say! I'm not saying you shouldn't sing about your crushes and your relationships, but why not a song about how awesome it is to be healthy, happy, and never have to wait in line for a table at Swiss Chalet because they're all, "Right this way, Miss Swift?" Enjoy yourself, because this fame won't last forever, something for which you should be grateful! If your fame lasted forever, what would become of your life?

I know it's not an apt comparison, really, but you make me think of Michael Jackson, and not just because of your girlish laugh and lilly-white skin. You are both obscenely famous, to the point where it must be impossible for you to go to the grocery store, ride a bus somewhere, or puke on the play structure of your elementary school late one night because your friend snuck some wine coolers out of his parents' fridge. As I have only a cursory familiarity with your music, the same is true for me and MJ. I know the singles, I even had a cassette of his once, but I can't say I'm the huge superfan like other people. And yet, since his death, I've been so fascinated by his life in an anthropological sort of way. I definitely have lost many a night to YouTube documentaries about the bizarre, isolated, megalomaniacal style of his final years. Here was a guy so famous for his whole fucking life that he never learned how to really live. There's no doubt that fame translates to power, even if the most powerful people aren't neccesarily famous, but that must mean that there's no one around to tell you no. As in, no, in light of the charge that you molested children, I wouldn't advise that you turn your backyard into a free amusement park. No, I won't administer emergency room calibur sedatives to you every night to help you fall asleep. No, I can't recommend that you bleach your skin and hack your face to such an altered and frightening state that you are virtually unrecognizable from your former self. There's something classically tragic about the Jackson downfall, he's like King Lear with a sequined glove, and I'm sure it's a long way off for you, Taylor Swift. All the same, though, I hope you don't have an ever expanding circle of friends and family in your direct employ. I hope there's no authority figure standing over you demanding that you practice again and again until you get it right because otherwise your family will starve. I hope your support system is truly supportive and that the people closest to you find you every so often and say, "You know you can stop if you want to."

If I could write just one paragraph to you, Swifty, it would be this one. You need to try to wean yourself off of the validation of recognition and awards. I read recently that you were "completely blown away!" by your nominations to something called the MTV Europe Music Awards. "I was jumping up and down and screaming!" you told one publication. Were you? Why? You've won everything, you confound 2012 expectations of the music industry because you are so universally likeable and marketable, you have fragrances and cosmetic contracts and tribute albums and sold out tours, what could be gleaned from another trophy? If it's disingenuous, that's obnoxious, T. If you're not actually psyched to get an MTV Europe Music Award but you lied and said you jumped up and down and screamed, you're not fooling anyone. But if you did jump up and down and scream, that makes me feel sad, new Friend. I want you to jump up and down and scream because your friend got that promotion at work and now she can finally afford to get her own apartment and you can have sleepovers! I want you to jump up and down and scream because Jesse's Girl is playing at the dance and it's absolutely your favourite song right now. Or you find an outfit at a store that fits perfectly and it's on sale! Or you beat your personal best on your morning run by a full minute! Or you beat a longtime rival at chess, finally! Or just as your telling a friend about this new tv show you just started watching, you idly flip channels and find a marathon! Of that show! The one you were just talking about! AAAAAH!!!

I don't know why it's so important that I write you. I don't think you're a bad role model at all, I love how you write your own songs and play guitar and you don't dress trampy. And I hope it's not sexist on my part to want to counsel you over, say, Justin Bieber, who is in roughly the same position in terms of fame and influence. Maybe it's because he will be allowed more indescretions in his personal life than you will because he's a dude. Or maybe because he can sell records with a catchy tune, but you've become known for your songwriting and so must always produce a compelling lyric. Or maybe it's because JB's stock and trade is in swagger, and yours is vulnerability. So often you seem heartbroken over a boy, or giddy over an award, and I want to you to be a strong, kick-ass woman who takes praise, criticism, even a break-up in stride. Be a goddamn rockstar, Taylor Swift, and change the world. You've caught our collective ear. Make us listen.

Your friend,

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Recipe for Success...

Hello Friends.

The doctor and I were unable to make it home this past weekend for the holiday, but indulged in delicious home cooking all the same. Elissa is a really sweet girl who lives six floors up and generously invited us to her apartment for a kind of orphans Thanksgiving. She made an amazing turkey and stuffing and the rest of us (a mix of people from the building and friends she had made from the nearby university) each brought a dish. While it's usually my custom to bring a big bottle of vodka, tonic water, lemons and limes, Doritos, and a plastic bowl (the guests can indulge in any combination of those ingredients), I thought I'd take a stab at making cole slaw, but bring a smaller bottle of vodka just in case it didn't turn out. But it turned out pretty good, thanks in no small part because there's no cooking, baking, broiling, or roasting involved. The recipe couldn't be simpler and it's always good.

To make Cole Slaw That is Good: Take a cabbage or two, quarter and chop finely. Even if you get the cabbage mix in a bag that's already shredded (as I do), chop it more. Ironically, when it comes to cole slaw, there's nothing more disgusting than a big hunk of cabbage. Add some shredded carrots and about four green onions. Keep chopping. Add 2-3 teaspoons of cider vinegar (chopped), pinches of salt, pepper, and celery seed. Stir a bunch. Add in a spoonful of mayonnaise, then maybe one more, but you need less than you think you do. Stir more. Chop while you're stirring. Cover, but don't make it earlier than the day you plan to serve it or it's gonna wilt.

To make a good vodka & tonic. First take your preferred citrus fruit (but not an orange or grapefruit, you wise-ass). Slice your lemon and lime in half. Take those halves and lay them face down, so the halves protrude from your cutting board like cancerous tumours the size of lemons or limes. Place one hand on top of the lime-half to steady it, then slice from diagonally from the side to the centre on the right, then left sides. This is very confusing to explain, but basically an easy way to cut six thick wedges (three slices from each half) that keeps you from cutting yourself. Squeeze your wedge and drop in a short tumbler, add a few ice cubes and a generous shot of vodka. Then pour tonic util the glass is full. Stir, but only lightly so as to not flatten the tonic. These are tart and refreshing and lack the sourness of gin and soon everyone is sexy and you're hilarious!

The problem with the above recipes is that, in passing them off as my own, I am a fraud. The cole slaw is my mothers to the letter and I had to email her before the party to make sure I had it exactly right. My brother has tended bar for years and taught me that lemon/lime slicing trick that has saved me countless emergency room visits (seriously, can you imagine a worse injury to befall you than slicing your hand open whilst cutting up citrus? How burny that would be?).

What I need is a signature dish that is mine and mine alone. Something to pass along to my kids when they get invited to Fall Holiday Nutrient Exchange in 2049. Since I haven't found a job and none of the neighbourhood kids want to engage in freestyle rap battles, and since Dr. Jon and I finally eat dinner together in the same place at the same time, I've been cooking more and slowly getting better at it. I think I've finally hit on a filling, hearty recipe that I'm ready to share with the world.

Dream: Teach everyone to make a Pot of James.

Goal: Achievable. Pot of James is warm and garlicky and spicy and while you're supposed to make it with chicken, I prefer it meatless, so even vegetarians can get in on the fun (vegans, the recipe calls for some heavy cream, but feel free to replace that with non-dairy creamer or toothpaste).

Plan: Share my step-by-step process for making this delicious autumnal supper.

First, turn on the first burner and marvel at the smoke that comes off of it. Why do burners always smoke like I've been embedding kleenex and woodchips into the coils? I haven't! I keep them clean! But the smoke detector always threatens to go off.

In case of fire, be sure to stay calm. Eeriely calm. I remember my parents cooking something on the stove that caught fire and I sprang into action and remembered what I was told to do in school. I stayed calm, pointed at the flames and said, "Fire. Fire. Fire" in an even tone until they doused the flames with baking soda. It's only looking back now that I realize how creepy and ineffectual I may have been.

On the first burner place a pot of salted water and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, consider the preponderance of nipples. Once upon a time I was dancing at a bar with a handsy drunk. He wasn't a lech, but he got a little touchy-feely. Anyway, at the end of the song he put his hand on my chest (over my blouse, rest assured), found my nipple and kind of "beeped" it. Pushed it like a doorbell and winked at me. What? Was that supposed to activate something deep within me? Didn't. Similarly, when it comes to ladies, why is it so important to cover the nipple on tv or magazines or whatever, when the rest of the breast is exposed? Is there something about that specific area that, when uncovered, unleashes mayhem and destruction? It's a bit like showing a guy's dong but then putting a pasty or tiny hat over the tip. Why should it be difference with breasts? Cleavage? Fine. Sideboob? Yes. Underboob? How fancy! Nipples? PUT THOSE AWAY.

Anyway, add about two cups of pasta to your boiling water. I like a substantial noodle like a penne or a rotini, but do whatever the fuck you want, I'm not your mother. Then get your second burner going. Vegetarians, skip this next bit, or replace the chicken with a favourite tofu or fig paste. Anyway, if you want, salt and pepper both sides of two chicken cutlets and cook them about two-three minutes per side in some oil on medium heat. I don't love the resulting chicken; it's kinda bland. I like using next day chicken for this. Pick some hunks off whatever's left of a roast chicken or cut up an already cooked chicken breast and toss it in with some paprika or something. Anyway, once the chicken's done (or if you haven't added any in at all), toss two minced garlic cloves and a fuckload of mushrooms (the recipe I used originally calls for only five cut-up mushrooms, but I use at least ten). Also toss in about a tsp and a half of those red pepper flakes. Cook that up until your house smells awesome (about half a minute, I'd guess).

Check on your noodles and think about your celebrity besties. Those famous people you don't want to bone, necessarily, but that you just want to hang out with because you're sure you'd get along super well. My celebrity bestie of the moment is Julie Klausner, this writer/performer who hosts a podcast (How Was Your Week) and wrote a really funny book (I Don't Care About Your Band) and writes great articles for Vulture, the Awl, Jezebel, etc. I just know we'd be pals! She's on Twitter and I tweet her so often and she never responds and I should take a hint and leave the poor woman alone, but she's so smart and funny and makes a living as a writer in New York City and I think if I cooked her a Pot of James, she might really like it.

Anyway, add a small hunk of butter to your pot of garlic and fuckload of shrooms and chili flakes. When it melts, whisk in three teaspoons of whole wheat flour (you could use white flour but then what would you lord over people?). Cook that for about two minutes, reduce your heat, then whisk in some cream just to thicken that noise UP! Like maybe 1/4 cup of whipping cream. Finally, add about a cup of those dry spinach leaves, the baby ones. Stir it all around until the spinach starts to wilt and turn the perfect deep shade of green.

Drain your noodles and combine your sauce with your pasta and mix it all together. Consider how lucky you are in your little kitchen in your very own apartment. Think of all the meals your mother made for you, night after night, how much work that must have been for her. Consider how she must be an expert in all of the things in which you are still a novice. As you ladle your creamy, garlic, spanich, chicken (or figs?), mushroom, spicy, earthy Pot of James, think about all the ingredients that lead to this moment in your life. All the times you thickened up thanks to new friends, got a little spicy when faced with a challenge, was bolstered by your own flavour, became wilted in the heat. Consider that no one, nowhere, makes your dinner the way you do. Be grateful. Be hungry. Serve.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Toss, turn...

Hello Friends.

Fair warning: someone complaining about how they can't sleep is about as interesting, generally, as someone explaining what they can and can't eat on their diet. It's as exciting to hear about as the driving route someone took to get to a party you're both attending. It ranks up there with someone detailing the weather for the past two weeks in a town about which you've never heard and know nothing. Ironically, this flies in the face of my Dream from a few weeks ago about whining, pouting, and bitching, but sleep is all I can think about in my foggy waking hours, so I'm just gonna write about it, consequences be damned. Silver lining: perhaps my complaining about how I can't sleep is enough to put you to sleep, so you can wait until next Thursday to visit this blog again, or read on and settle in for forty winks that I could desperately use.

Dream: Sleep.

Goal: Achievable? I don't know, you guys. It seems like since moving here six weeks ago, I've tossed and turned every night. Plus the oppressive heat of Toronto's June, July, and August kept me in sufficient discomfort during the wee hours this past summer. It makes me wonder if I ever slept well in my life, and if the perpetual "you look tired!" I always hear is less a passive-aggressive diss and more an accurate assessement.

Plan: Figure out what keeps me up at night and put it to bed.

It's not that I'm not sleeping at all (though I've had a few zero-sleep nights), it's that the only way I seem to be able to drift off is by succumbing to complete exhaustion, which hits me later and later, and then only lets me sleep for a few hours, before jerking me awake for some phantom emergency. I'm a terribly light sleeper so any noise and I'm the jerk who goes, "WHASSA MATTER!" and bolts up.

Unfortunately, there's a great deal of noise to contend with in this building. The neighbours in the apartment next to ours own this dog who goes insane every time his owners leave the apartment, which is usually every morning about 6.30. It usually goes on for about twenty minutes or so, but he manages to somehow wake up all the dogs in the building before he retires for the morning, satisfied his work is done. Incidentally, he barks consistently from about 5 to 6 pm every evening. Instead of waking me up and making me angry, this period of noise just makes me sad. Why have any dogs in an apartment building? I'm sorry, dog lovers, but it's such a small space and they're bored out of their fucking minds.

Our building is also beside a construction site, which makes me want to weep. When we first moved to Toronto, the modest buildings at the end of our street were being torn down to make room for two high-rise apartments. Those buildings were under construction for the entire three years we lived there. Here in Edmonton, they're building onto the parkade adjacent to us, and recently posted a sign saying construction would be ongoing for three years. They don't construct at night, of course, but put a real damper on sleeping in.

Before you mention a helpful sleep hint, I've tried them all. I drink one cup of coffee when I wake up, then no caffeine for the rest of the day. I don't eat a thing after 9 pm anymore. I exercise during the day to try to ensure that my body is tired by bedtime, and it is tired, but my mind just races. I've even tried over the counter sleep aids, and that's turned out to be the scariest thing ever (and not just because, if I've had sex with you in a dream, you might have sleep AIDS now). If I pop a Nytol, my body and head feel all mushy and gooey, but I get the sensation that I'm slowly being pushed underwater. I get this foggy, unpleasant feeling and for some reason my brain makes me snap to and I jolt awake. But why? What in the hell do I need to be awake for? Plus, whenever I have fallen asleep thanks to a pill, my dreams are always those terrible neverending task ones. I'm pertually moving boxes, for instance, or trying to schedule a haircut.

The other thing about lying awake late at night is that, like a buzzing mosquito in a bedroom, the negative thoughts fly in and can't be easily contained. I know admonishing yourself for staying awake by thinking, "GO TO BED, IDIOT!" is no help at all. But then this awful Greek chorus comes in with "Look at your life! Look at your choices! You have no job! What's with your hair?" etc. combined with niggling thoughts that are completely inane like, "Do I wear enough green things?" I consider myself a fairly positive person, but there's no convincing pep talk you can give yourself when it's 6 am and your boyfriend's getting ready for work and you haven't slept because you can't get the lyrics to Somethin' to Talk About out of your head.

The worst and scariest part about this lack of sleep, the thing I hate to admit, is that it doesn't strike on a Friday or Saturday night. Almost never. That's because the Doctor and I have a few drinks, we go see friends, we watch bad tv, we talk, we both go to bed late and we both drift off peacefully and sleep in blissfully. But all of that means that my Sunday to Thursday lack of sleep is nothing medical or physical, it's nothing influenced by external factors. My insomnia, it would seem, is entirely in my own head. This notion is unbelievably frustrating. I would imagine it's like being really overweight, hating how overweight you are, then binge-eating to quell your self-hatred. Maybe it's not exactly like that, but there's something about the body and mind's impulse to betray its host at its own peril. Why would I willingly do this to myself?

I know that this too shall pass. I eventually have to get hired somewhere and the externally-imposed schedule will demand that I'm functional from this time until that time and it will just work out. It happened when, after years of shift work, I finally got nine-to-five employment. Despite my concerns that an early rising time would be impossible to meet, I actually got on the best sleep schedule I've had since I was in school. Being mentally stimulated all day meant I slept like a baby all night. So I suppose the best Plan is finding a satisfying, interesting way to fill the days. Let's hope this Goal is Achievable, and lets me Dream again.