Saturday, September 14, 2013

A sleep trick that works for me

I know from the email messages I receive and from talking to people at conventions and other appearances that quite a few folks who read my work suffer in various ways from PTSD.  Many people with PTSD have sleep troubles.  Some have a hard time falling asleep.  Others have a hard time staying asleep, often waking many times in the night.  I have both issues.  What a surprise.

On this most recent trip, though, by pure happenstance I found a trick that helped me fall asleep, so I thought I'd pass it along in case it could help others. 

I need to explain first that my normal facial expression ranges from what I think of as neutral, which many call "angry," to what I think of as annoyed, which many call "Who the fuck are you looking at?  I'm going to kill you."  Put differently, I'm not the sort of person who walks around all the time with a smile on his face.  (I do laugh and joke a lot, but we're talking here about my face at rest.) 

The first night of this past trip, after turning out the bedside lamp, I thought of something that made me happy, and I involuntarily smiled at the thought.  I was exhausted, so I was lucky enough to fall asleep quickly, the smile still there. 

The next night, I was also exhausted, but I was having my usual trouble falling asleep.  I wondered why the previous night had been different, and then I recalled that I had smiled right before I fell asleep.  I figured, what the heck, it couldn't hurt to try again.  I thought about some things that made me happy until I found myself smiling again, and then I fell asleep quickly. 

This trick has worked for me on every night since then that the room I've been in has been quiet.  (It doesn't help in a noisy space, but that's a different issue.)  Admittedly, that's less than a week, but it does seem to help me and be repeatable, so I'm passing it along in case it works for you.

To my own surprise, I now plan to always try to fall asleep smiling. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

On the road again: IDF, San Francisco, day 4

The conference ended yesterday, as I noted in last night's post, but I still attribute today to it because much of today went to making my way home.  I awoke at oh-dark-thirty, showered, rode with a somewhat crazier than usual cabbie to the airport, and then went to work in the Admirals' Club. 

I didn't consider those early hours to be very good, but they were charming next to the over three hours I spent on the plane.

My seat appeared promising:  exit-row aisle.  As I approached it, though, I saw a fairly large, white-haired businessman sitting in the middle seat, his elbows protruding into the seats on either side of him.  Not a good sign.  As I was preparing to sit, I pointed to his elbow in my space and said, "I need to sit."  He nodded but did not move his elbow.  So, I sat slowly, my ass starting to push his elbow down.  He glanced up, grunted, and pulled it enough out of the way that I could sit.  As soon as I was seated, he pushed his elbow into my side.  I tried pushing back with my body, but he held firm.  So, I reached down and pushed his elbow to the edge of the armrest; I was willing to let him have all of it given that I had the aisle.  He grunted but let it sit there.

For about ten minutes.  He then pushed it back into me.

I pushed it away again.  This time, I said, "Please stop pushing into my body with your elbow." 

He said nothing.

We continued this pattern for the rest of the time we were on the plane. 

I am once again proud that I did not hit him. 

When he got up to use the restroom, he pointedly stepped on my toes as I was trying to get out of his way. 

I said, "That was unnecessary." 

He grunted.

I spotted him coming back and was out of the way this time, so he could not step on my toes again. 

I put my laptop in my backpack and went to the restroom. 

When I returned, I pulled it hard and fast from the backpack into his shin. 

He said the only words he spoke to me the entire time.  "What the--?"

I grunted.  I didn't even try to hide my smile.

Yes, it was entirely petty, but I still felt better for doing it. 

The next leg was bliss by comparison:  an upgrade and non-stop work, with no one bothering me.

Now, I'm home, and that is a very good thing indeed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

On the road again: IDF, San Francisco, day 3

The conference wrapped up this afternoon.  After some time on work email, we headed down the 101 to a work dinner at a good Mediterranean place, Dishdash, in Sunnyvale.  We mostly missed rush hour on both ends, though the traffic on 101 is worse at almost any hour than traffic back home.  The food was good, as was the conversation.

I have to get up before six a.m., which is really not me, so I'm going to cut this short. 

Tomorrow, I fly home, which is a good thing. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the road again: IDF, San Francisco, day 2

After an eighteen-hour workday, I'm afraid I don't have the energy or desire to write much here.  The show is full of great devices, from phones to tablets to two-in-one laptops to servers, so it's a great place to be if you're a tech geek--which I am.  Almost all of what I did today, though, I can't, as usual, discuss.

Dinner was a meeting with friends who are also clients and colleagues, a tasty steak and Caesar salad at a San Francisco landmark steak house, Harris'.  The conversation and the food were good, though also about work and so nothing I can discuss here. 

Tomorrow, more conference, more meetings, and a trip down the 101 for, yes, a dinner meeting, one that promises to be both interesting and tasty.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the road again: IDF, San Francisco, day 1

Though I can't talk about most of what I do in my job at PT, I can say that one of the joys of being in the tech industry is that it's always changing.  New technologies and new products lead to new ways to use them, and for the most part we consumers benefit from the improvements.  Seeing the hot new stuff is always big fun. 

Lunch was at IDF, the usual trade-show fare, decent but no more. 

Dinner, though, was a top-drawer meal at Coi, one of the more adventurous restaurants in the area.  The course with beets was fine, though nothing special.  The shiso sauce on the final dessert was perhaps the meal's only misstep.  The rest of the dinner was delicious and perfectly executed.  To my amazement, I even loved the chilled eggplant soup and would have liked more than they served.  I highly recommend Coi if you're out here or live here. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

On the road again: IDF, San Francisco, day 0

All of today went to work, which I can't discuss.  I can say that after spending much of the day in my hotel room working, though no hotel room is as good a workspace as my office, this one wasn't half bad. 

Dinner tonight was a fun meal with a colleague at Le Colonial.  We shared two appetizers, the pot stickers and the pork belly.  The pot stickers were good, but the twice-cooked pork belly, each chunk topped with a quail egg and all the pieces in a delightful oil-and-citrus-and-other-stuff sauce, was exceptional.  We also shared a main course of lobster over noodles, along with some fried rice and, believe it or not, a side of Brussels sprouts.  I normally hate the nasty Brussels sprouts, but these were good enough that I ate multiple pieces and enjoyed each one.  I'd definitely return to Le Colonial.

Tomorrow morning, the conference sessions start in earnest.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

On the road again: IDF, San Francisco, day -1

Meetings associated with the conference don't get rolling until tomorrow, but I needed to get out here today so I would have the option of attending some of them.  Thus, I found myself on a Sunday morning getting out of bed in the single digits to begin the long travel day. 

The first bits went well:  easy check-in, work in the Admirals' Club, an upgrade, and a very productive flight to Chicago. 

The second leg was also productive but not at all fun, because I spent it sitting next to a Dubliner who would not stop poking me in the side with his elbow and putting his right foot on top of my left.  After a few minutes of this unwanted contact, I asked him directly and nicely not to keep making it.  He complained of how small his space was, and I agreed it was small--and pointed out that mine was equally small.  I also noted that we were lucky to have the extra leg room of exit-row seats.  He shook his head.  We sat silently for a while, and then he began the contact again.  I pushed back.  He stopped.  For a while.  We repeated this for the entire rest of the flight. 

I'm proud of myself for not hitting him even once. 

By the time I landed, I needed the walk to baggage claim and the taxi ride to the hotel just to calm down. 

After checking in and registering for the conference, I did some more work and then walked to a nearby movie theater.  There I treated myself to a truly terrible yet occasionally entertaining film:  The Bounty Killer.  I can't recommend it to any who wouldn't enjoy the late show at the beach, but the all-male audience hooted and hollered quite often during it.

That said, watch it at your own risk.


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