Insomnia and Shrove Tuesday pancakes

Today is Shrove Tuesday, something celebrated by various Christian denominations, including the United Church.  Not evangelical churches though it seems – my formerly evangelical friend had never heard of it.  Fair enough, I hadn’t either when I was with that particular tribe of folks, singing the songs and raising my hands.

Anyway, Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent.  I just read that its origins are over 1,000 years old.  It was a day to use up fats and sugars before the 40 days of Lent.  This is apparently why people have pancake suppers.  The church I work at is having one but I am not going because:  a.) I don’t want to b.) pancakes for supper, I can’t do it.  I mean I could but really I have to save eating sweet things till just before bed when I can get the maximum insomnia from them.

However, I may check out Centering Prayer at said church tonight.  They do spell it the American way which seems wrong somehow but I must accept.  SInce I loved Healing Touch so much (and am having another session on Monday afternoon), I thought Centering Prayer was a good bet.  It’s run by the same folks who run HT, some great women.

“You know,” I said to one of them who popped into the church office today , “Some evangelicals think Healing Touch is cultish.”

“Oh,” she said.

I read up on the reasons behind that cultish thinking and I can see why evangelicals might think that.  When I was in the tribe I probably would have thought so too but may have gone to HT anyway kinda on the sly.  “Where are you going, Karen,” people would ask.

“Nowhere,” I would respond, “And certainly not to Healing Touch.”

“Good because that is cultish.”


That is how that conversation might have gone.

I am enjoying learning about the thousand year old traditions/rituals of the church.

How’s the church worker job, asks my wee fan base.

Well, well, I don’t know.  I still haven’t found out about passing my probation, which is up at the end of the month.  Everything is very vague, vague, vague, vague.  I do know that I’m quite busy now with this and that at the job, which is good in a way.  But I find it all stressful (of course!) because I’m kinda terrified of doing a not great job.  Weird.  And again, the alone factor is just vaguely mind blowing to me.  It’s kinda wretched.  Also I never really know what will be asked of me – that is part of being a church administrator person though –  but I’m not big on surprises like that.  The inefficiency of the probation is annoying though but I don’t want to make waves on that one;  I will just wait it out.  I mean I also – I don’t know if my anxiety would be reduced by going back to work (and looking for work first) at an ESL school again.  Or if my anxiety is just part of how it is, wherever I am.  I mean I’d greatly enjoy the interaction with other people (ESL teaching has a whole lot of that – with other teachers, with the students).  I would never take that for granted again that’s for sure.  And I’d feel on steadier feet doing something I know that I can do – and yet – I don’t know; I’m not sure such jobs are too easy to9 come by anymore.  So what I’m really doing I have to say is just waiting it all out.  I do this a lot it seems.  Worst comes to worst I’m back out there on the looking for ESL work thing.  And as summer is coming, something would eventually come up.  But it would be back to that rollercoaster again as well.

I really had no idea just how much is expected of a church secretary (er, I prefer administrator) by everyone and their dog.  Some folks are really nice though, don’t get me wrong.  I’m kinda starting to understand why the previous admin person, who was there for 15! years, left with some bitterness.  And the minister she was working with (the new one started when I did) was there every weekday with her, while mine works from home on Wednesdays and isn’t in the office on Mondays and Tuesdays, though he can stalk me on google chat.  “It’s like you’re his executive assistant,” noted the children’s minister today.  “Exactly,:” I said.  I’m realizing that he misses the executive assistant that he had at his former church.  I suspect she is a calm cookie with great, well, administrative skills.  They are twitter friends for goodness sakes.

Oh, insomnia.  It is still rearing it’s really really ugly head.  I sleep very lightly, then wake up about 2 or 3 am and don’t go back to sleep in any really deep way.  Ugh.  UGH.    And finally,  ugh.  Not much more to say about that other than it messes up everything on earth ever. I’d be happy to be rid of it.

In other excitement the walk-in doctor couldn’t find the tiny sliver of glass in my foot.  She told me I could go to the ER but that seems like a dramatic use of 10 hours of time.  I mean I could call an ambulance but that seems odd.  I shall merely hobble around is what I’ll do.

What else?  Well, tomorrow after the first job I have an appointment and then time to kill at the library instead of busing it all the way home and then teaching.  Thursday another afternoon appointment and Friday evening I am volunteering at the Rogue Folk Club so I can see these guys for free:  I hadn’t heard of them but it sounds great.  And on March 22nd: – that one I am really looking forward to.

I should go swimming now; it helps the ramped up insomnia feeling.  But alas, I am too tired to.  Perhaps Centering Prayer tonight.

and again, back.

And forward perhaps.

I’m at my second all day Sunday writers’ workshop.  Basically what happens is I pay $14 and walk for half an hour to Pine and W. 3rd to a I think graphic design studio.  There are about 5 long wooden tables with plug-ins for computers and there is also free Wifi.  There’s also a couch for those who prefer that.  There are about 12 of us here, all with our laptops.  I don’t know these people and they don’t know me.  Some other seems to know each other this time and were chatty chatty until 10:00 am when the chatty chatty had to stop and we began to write.

I really enjoyed this last time and was able to write for about four and a half hours – I got a lot done. Being around others who were writing made it easier than writing alone at home. I entered CBC’s Creative Non-Fiction contest and didn’t realize until just last week that I had counted my header as words and am thus 6 words short and they are unrelenting in demanding it have a certain word count.  Oops, there goes that $25.  Uh well.  Hopefully they will still read it.

So, we write until 12:30 pm and then have a lunch break.

Oy, insomnia has been plaguing me again and last night was really bad – barely slept at all and when I did it was only to have really awful (and long, intense and detailed) nightmares.  I feel sick today from it but still wanted to see if I could write today.  Such insomnia increases my anxiety a zillion fold and that makes existing consciously extremely unpleasant.  But sitting around at home would have made it worse I think.  Anyway, I’ll see how I do.  It’s interesting because for about a month or so after mom died I had no trouble sleeping whatsoever but then it came back.  Might be medication changes, might be a myriad of things.  Those of my wee fan base who know for insomnia, know for the difficulties of it.


I’m still at the church job, although my probation isn’t up until the end of the month.  There’s been talk of ‘we’re not sure’ and ‘the minister isn’t sure’ in regards to aspects of my administrative work.  It is all very vague and very non-profit and church type inefficient and concerning.  This has added to my anxiety that’s for sure.  It’s not like I make a lot of money at this job- nope, not even enough to pay the basics, especially February which had two very short pay periods.  And it’s not like I’m in love with working alone in the office most of the time except when the minister is in and I’m responding in an ill-equipped way to what he needs.  I just think I want a job that lasts for awhile and that I can add some ESL teaching on to when I can.  If the job ends it isn’t the end of the world because ESL work naturally picks up in the summer and I have a few schools I am on sub lists for that I can reinvigorate.  I’ve been on one sub list for over a year and have never even had the chance to sub there yet!  But it’s more I guess the getting out there again and starting fresh.  Although I have to say that being around people in an ESL teaching job would be a great thing. I’m enjoying teaching my evening class at Langara College once a week – but that is over in three weeks and won’t pick up again, if there are enough students, until the end of May. 

So I’m in wait-and-see mode.  I’m not rocking the boat right now and asking what is up with my church job – no one seems to know what the minister is thinking.  He gets stressed a lot – partly because he is only in the office two weekdays so has lots of meetings and such when he is in. 

And bulletin Friday!  And I I messed up the bulletin and wasted tons of bulletin cover paper yet again.  Eeek.

So who knows what is best.  As my friend C. says, if I could get my anxiety under control (and, well, my sleep) I’d be much better able to handle these situations as well as my grief over my mom’s death.  But, it is what it is.  And isn’t what it isn’t or something like that.  But hard no matter how you cut it.

On a separate note, the Glenda and I wanted a bit of a field trip yesterday.  Let’s go out to the new-ish Surrey Central Library, said I.  Darned if she didn’t pick me up and we drove to Nanaimo skytrain station and then took the half hour skytrain ride (er, far) to the new library out there.  Well, well.  Well and well.  It is 77,000 square feet of library.  Four floors and designed in such a way that half ot he floor is seating and half is books.  It’s huge huge huge and new and great.  I got my VPL card all synced up to it, got a Surrey Library book bag and a couple of magazines and books.  I will definitely be going back.  A long trip for sure but I have the time (and no money but that’s not so much needed at a library, thank goodness.)

Across from the library is a shopping complex, the top of which is SFU’s Surrey campus which also looks interestingly designed.  Eeek, there is a Target at the mall.  Target in Canada is not nearly as good as Target in the U.S. of A but and however I got a few tops at a decent price.

Then the Glenda and I went grocery shopping because she knows I have no car.  Then she dropped me off so she could go to the opera with her husband and I went home to have insomnia is how that worked out.

On Friday, I hung out with the church I work at’s pastoral care minister, L.  She has reached out since my mom died, even though I don’t attend said church.  We went and sat on the beach near my place, even though it was too cold to sit on the beach near my place.  She’s quite good at getting me to slow down and think in different and healthier ways.  I’m ever appreciative.  She had to set up boundaries though that she couldn’t discuss my work issues which is fair enough as that would put her in an extremely awkward position. I have to be more careful, careful-er. 

And the offer of Healing Touch – best described as Reiki for liberal Christians – was lovely as well the other day.  S. from the church had been gently asking me when I ‘d like a private session with her and J. – two of the more experienced women in the practice.  I had it done last Tuesday after my workday was done at 1 pm.  I was skeptical and nervous but I really, really, really felt calmer afterward and for an entire evening.  I will go again to their public offerings which are on the fourth Monday evening of the month.  I will also look for other churches that do it.  There is something to it.  My evangelical past sometimes gets in there and says ‘uh oh’ but then my reality takes over and I realize that I will go with whatever helps me – and I believe it is practices beyond words that work best.  My fabulous hospice counsellor, N, who I can see only twice more per funding, is going to try some guided music imagery with classical music I think on Thursday as that is her training and she thinks it might help. I’m all for that too.  I really wasn’t so much before my mom died but then she did and I experienced grief which is, as those who know know, beyond words, deeper then.

And finally, I drop things all the time it seems.  After dropping my external keyboard and computer last night, the ‘A’ smashed off the external keyboard completely, not a trace of it left to push on.  Hmmm.  And my laptop keyboard hasn’t worked in awhile.  And so now I have a fresh and new external keyboard.  It’s still louder though than the silent typing of the lap toppers around me.