Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bedtime Ritual

I have been reading the daily paper since I was nine years old.  I can remember trying to do the crossword puzzle and being able to get maybe one or two answers.  Both my parents and grandparents were paper-readers.  My first year of marriage I worked at a newspaper.  So reading the paper is important to me.  And it's a quality I've (quite without trying) passed onto all my children.  Every day they at least read the comics.  Some of them read the sports, others the weather, local news, sales ads, etc.  Apparently we are in the minority.  (I should add that my husband does not feel the same compulsion to read the newspaper that the rest of us do.)

Of course the Sunday paper has its own special features:  stacks of sales info, coupons (I have to confess I'm not into them -- keeping them organized and keeping up with them causes me extreme anxiety), lots of comics--in color,

and the creme de la creme for me, the five-star sudoku puzzle --

and the New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzle --

I look forward to this all week because these help me to go to sleep at night.

My husband likes to read before going to bed.  He can read a chapter (or even a page), put the book away and go to sleep.  I have a hard time doing that.  It's the rare book that I can read in little bites.  I have to gobble books down.  If the book is good, I am likely to keep reading til 2 or 3 in the morning.  So while I enjoy reading, I have to weigh my enjoyment against how emotionally involved I want to get.  Movies have the same effect.  I love books and good movies, but they are not "relaxing" to me -- they get my mind and emotions going.

So before I go to sleep, I will work the sudoku puzzle, and once I've completed that, I will work on the New York Times crossword.  Sometimes the sudoku comes fairly easy, sometimes it may take me several days.  The same with the crossword.  There are some weeks I never do get them finished.  But I need them to be somewhat difficult.  This way my mind is engaged -- challenged -- so my attention is focused on what I'm doing.  I can't think about my worries (which always seem to rear their ugly heads at night) and work a puzzle at the same time.  On the other hand, my emotions don't really get involved with the puzzle, so when I get drowsy I just put the puzzle down and go to sleep.  It will still be there tomorrow.

By the way, the Pickles comic at the top was particularly funny to me because for a long time I made the same mistake as Pearl:  I thought LOL meant "Lots of Love."  Wondered why my husband's friends kept putting that in their emails :)  In case you don't get Pickles in your paper, you can click here     to see it.

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