Sleepless in the South

Tonight—I suppose last night is the more appropriate term, given the time of day—is/was another odd one. I went to bed early, just after 10:00 p.m., and fell asleep quickly. But I awoke around 1:00 a.m. After tossing and turning for two hours (and possibly drifting off intermittently), I decided at 3:00 a.m. to get up for a while. Awhile has now been quite some time and I see no signs that a return to bed would result in sleep, so I think I’m up for the duration of the day. During the last hour and a half, I made the mistake of trying to make sense of the world by reading online news. I might as well have broken a half-dozen incandescent light bulbs and ingested the shards of glass for all the understanding the news has given me. Realizing the pointlessness of that endeavor, I decided to watch and listen to an online course in which I’ve been participating (with others, who meet periodically to discuss the content). I must not have been in the right mood, because my reaction to it was along the lines of, “this is not education, this is cleverly disguised propaganda.”

Those efforts failing me, I decided to write something. But what? Again, I can’t be sure, as I’ve not yet written it. But here goes. There’s something wrong with the skin between my fingers. Not all of the skin, just the skin between the fingers where the fingers join the rest of the hand. There must be a medical term for the spot where the “wrong” is, but I don’t know it, or have forgotten it. At any rate, within the last two days I’ve noticed that the skin itches in those spots. Now, there are small red welts erupting between several fingers on both hands. The itching continues, but it now seems to be joined by a bit of pain. Methinks I should attempt to see a doctor, but methinks, too, that I may be a bit of a hypochondriac and perhaps should wait to see if this thing, whatever it is, decides to leave me alone without expensive intervention. I may hold off on the decision until my favorite spouse weighs in on the matter. She’s often more rationale about health care “emergencies” than I.


Yesterday afternoon, I visited an acquaintance who I think is becoming a friend. He invited me over to play in his wood shop. I’ve done just a bit of wood working in years past; enough to know I wish I had the space and tools to practice it more often. We spent several hours working on his wood lathe as he showed me how to turn pieces of wood into pieces of art. First, we made a ring (like the things people wear on their fingers) for my wife. I had to guess at her ring size, inasmuch as the last ring I bought for her was her wedding band, purchased about thirty-eight years ago. I guessed wrong. I guessed size seven; apparently, a size five would have been a better guess. That notwithstanding, she now has a size seven ring; a stainless steel circle to which a very nice piece of very dense wood was attached and turned, finished with a high polish. The second item we made is the top of what will become a wine stopper when I get the polished stainless steel base. For now, it’s just the wood top of the wine stopper. The wine stopper was made from several pieces of wood that my friend had previously glued together. The pieces apparently were not all flush, but I think the “flaw” where they were not completely joined adds character. I think I could become addicted to turning wood. I wish I had space for a lathe. Maybe I can make space for a lathe. If I do, I will need money. Not just for the lathe, but for all the gadgets associated with wood-turning. Perhaps my next business could involve making and selling wooden pen cylinders and wine stoppers and bowls. I’d guess there are only seven hundred to a thousand guys in Hot Springs Village who are doing the same thing. Oh well, I understand why.


Wednesday evening we will attend a wine tasting with a group of people we met at the World of Wine events we’ve been attending for the past year or two. We sit with one another at each event as we are offered wines from various countries around the world along with a menu ostensibly from the same country. We’ve tried wines from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Argentina, France…maybe more. At one of the recent dinners, my wife had the idea that we should gather at one another’s homes from time to time and do tastings of the same wine from various wineries and eat hors d’oeuvre. Each of us would bring a bottle of wine and each would bring hors d’oeuvre. We held the first such event at our house, tasting Malbec wine. Wednesday evening will be the second such event, hosted by another member of the group; we will taste Pinot Noir.  We have very little in common with most other members of the group aside from enjoying food and inexpensive wine. But we enjoy socializing with them. And so we shall.


It’s now 5:15 and I’ve gone through two large glasses of water since I arose at 3:00. No coffee yet. Despite evidence that coffee does not keep me from sleeping, I decided not to have coffee on the off-chance that I would try to go back to sleep. I don’t know why I don’t trust the evidence. Awhile back, when I was in the midst of watching calories, I opted to forego wine and beer and other forms of booze. Instead of enjoying those refreshments, I drank coffee in the evening and had no trouble going to sleep. But I still harbor this sense that coffee “should” keep me awake. I will not do caffeine free. I tried it years ago and thought it tasted like bitter metal. People tell me decaf has improved since I tasted it in my thirties. I do not believe them. I should watch my calories now. Perhaps now more than ever. Beer and wine and other forms of booze are not good for my waistline or my liver. I would be taller and thinner if I were to forego alcohol again. I guess I could do as I’ve done thus far this morning and just stick with water. Word on the street is that water is good for our life form. But I just heard the coffee maker start up, letting me know that in just moments, it will be ready to produce for me. I think I’ll take a break and go get a mug of hot black French roast. My water-only regimen did not last long.


That is all. For now.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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3 Responses to Sleepless in the South

  1. Chuck says:

    I thought about the sawdust too. I hope the cortisone takes care of it. Insomnia is the thing I fear the most in my daily life (I mean. There are stray asteroids and climate change to also consider), although doesn’t come up these days. I feel for you, though. I’m also with you on the coffee; no discernible effect either.

  2. Hmm, you might have something there! I’m on it! Fortunately, I have a little cortisone ointment at the ready.

  3. lizardek says:

    I wonder if the sawdust and the itching have anything in common? Otherwise a little cortisone sakve ought to help!

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