In Which Ella is Jet-Lagged

And…I’m back from Europe.

Today has been spent trying to stay awake until eight p.m. I have one hour to go, and I don’t know if I’ll make it. It is nice, however, to have regular internet access again, and the chance to get back into daily blogging. I’m looking forward to sharing pictures and stories from the trip. Tomorrow, I tell you, tomorrow I’ll begin.

But for now, I’m make myself take another walk around the block before collapsing into my lovely, lovely, absolutely wonderful bed.


Ella and the Daylight Savings Time Grumbles

On my list of things I dislike, you will find Daylight Savings Time sandwiched in between lima beans and vacuuming. It’s not enough of a time change forward to make it easy for me to adjust (for whatever reason, I handle jet lag in Europe incredibly well), and I don’t care enough for having an extra hour of light in the evening to get excited about the change. Instead, I just wander around in a bit of a tired daze for half a week trying adjust and getting confused by clocks I’ve forgotten to change. (When you insist upon having clocks set at a varying number of minutes fast in nearly every room of the house, it can be difficult to keep up with power outages and Daylight Savings)

For anyone else feeling grumbly and tired or who is just plain interested in how Daylight Savings Time came about and opperates, I highly recommend watching this video:

Falling Asleep at Dawn

I fell asleep at dawn today, an alluring habit I try to resist, yet despite all of the health consequences lying in bed, watching the sunrise through the slats in the window-shade, continues to be one of my favorite things to do.

There’s something wonderful about watching a new day break and being one of the only people to witness it. Everyone else is still sleepy, foggy with lethargy still, but me, I’m alert. I’ve been busy, moving about, doing things while everyone else rested.

And of course it’s silly. I’ll be sleeping as they do their morning things, take their dogs for walks, sip coffee, drive to work. But they don’t get to operate in the same sort of secret, they don’t get to surprise people with what they’ve been doing.

“Yeah, I cleaned the kitchen and reorganized the magazines. Pretty cool, huh?” I can say and you’ll look around the house and be impressed by all I did while you were asleep. The wonderful deception of the night sliding by quickly when the only thing you’re doing is staring at the backs of your eyelids makes it look like I did the work in the blink of an eye, rather than doing the dishes with as much spite and anger towards the grime as possible and dragging the task on for over an hour. The nasty process gets to be hidden, jammed into the hall closet, under the bin of hats and gloves, and the final product shines. I am capable of magical perfection.

But it’s not just the pride and anticipation of pleasing others that makes falling asleep at dawn so lovely. It’s the joy of lying, swathed in new, fresh light. It feels gentle and easy, the aggression and uncertainty of darkness is being steadily replaced. I don’t have to doubt what’s hiding in the corner or whether I locked the back door. Things feel innocent and pure, nothing can go wrong, I am totally safe, and all I need to do is close my eyes and focus on my breath until I slip away.

In Which Ella Is Mysteriously Exhausted

This past spring, I was a champion sleeper thanks to some medication I had to take for around four months. I could sleep standing up in the shower, waiting for the bus, at my desk, at lunch, and in the car, not to mention sofas and my bed. I would walk around in a lethargic stupor, just waiting to crash. And the evenings were often a race against the clock to get things done before I passed out as early as eight.

Now, in the nature of illnesses, I got better and the need for the medication passed, but for the past few days, I’ve been acting almost as if I’m on it again. Saturday, I fell asleep at six thirty in the evening; I couldn’t even remain awake until the end of the Super Bowl yesterday; and tonight it’s only nine thirty, and my eyes are already drooping shut. It’s terribly frustrating, and I don’t why I’ve been doing it.

To put it simply, I do not like sleep. If it weren’t a medical necessity, I wouldn’t do it. Just think of those tantalizing nighttime hours when you could get all sorts of work done! I could write for more than ten hours a day, and still have time for a full day of teaching and chores. The possibilities are endless! But my sight is now going fuzzy at the edges and my mind feels sluggish, so I should probably abandon my fantasies of sleeplessness and curl up under the covers.


Ella and the Misery of Normal Sleeping Hours

This week’s project has been to get up early, and I must say that it’s got me confused.

First of all, who put all of this extra time in the morning? Is breakfast really supposed to be eaten five hours before noon? What about lunch? Isn’t that supposed to be eaten at three in the afternoon?

And what’s the deal with needing to go to bed before midnight? I mean, who does that? How am I supposed to spend hours in my room, hunched over my laptop, typing if I have to go to bed at ten? This is insanity!

On a much more serious note, it’s been very difficult to get back to a regular sleeping schedule. For the past six months, I’ve been blessed with a very flexible schedule that allows me to become the nocturnal creature that I love. It’s been completely acceptable to stay up until four or five, sleep until noon, and take a cat nap from five to six in the evening.

Unfortunately, the real world does not operate on this marvelous schedule. They clearly don’t love the quiet and darkness of night the way I do. It’s such a pity that its magic doesn’t call to it, alluring and exciting. They don’t love the feel of being the only one awake in the world. They laugh when I tell them that they can’t go to bed because something exciting is going to happen! “Ella, it’s nighttime,” they’ll say, “Nothing happens at three a.m.” But they don’t know the wonder of the dark, and I’d rather not share it, anyway. After midnight until five a.m. is my time.

So join me on another night of climbing into bed absurdly early and dragging myself back out of bed at an hour that I would normally be just falling asleep. It’ll be fun, and I promise not to hog the pillows. Max can attest to my ability to remain stock still while asleep.

This week’s reader-selected post was “How to Shut Up a Bully in French Class.” If you click on the link, you can vote in the poll at the bottom of the post for the topic you’d like to read about next week.

You can also find me collecting lovely images and words on tumblr at I’d love for you to follow me on my trek into the wilds of tumblr.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Santa is currently in the basement doing something that involves a surprising amount of scotch tape and the use of my personal scissors. He also requested a cookie and a smoothie with green apples, kiwi, spinach, broccoli, garlic, ginger, barley grass, and something else that didn’t not sound like it should normally go in a blender. It’s almost as good as the year when we were assured that all Santa wanted were fancy chocolate truffles and a martini, which Pippa and I very poorly prepared (apparently lime juice should only be done in small quantities and upwards of three small olives is deemed excessive).

Pushkin is trying to drink the water out of the tree.

Zelda has fallen asleep in a chair right where Santa is supposed to deposit Pippa’s gifts and is refusing to go sleep in her bed.

Maxwell is lying in my bed and testing the limits of how many times he can kick me before I make him leave.

And Pippa has been attempting for hours in an attempt “to make the morning get here faster.” However, she is still awake and reading Christmas picture books. Hopefully, this will mean that I don’t get leapt on at 6:30 this year.

And I’m settling down for a long winter’s nap not wearing a kerchief or a cap, but instead a knitted toque (my half-hearted attempt to be festive while unconscious) and my flowered nightgown that buttons up to my chin and hangs down almost to my feet. I’ve always felt that it’s best to look old fashioned on Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Christ has been born!

(And commercialization of the holiday reigns)

(Though to be fair no one is certain at what time of year Christ was born, and the date was probably only chosen because it coincided with the Winter Solstice.)

(Still. Jesus, everybody! Jesus was born today!)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Trains Maxwell

Tonight, while I got ready for bed, Maxwell waited in the hall for me before lying down in bed.

It appears like my training of the lad is going very well.

In other news, I made and cleaned up three separate baking projects today, which I think is some sort of record. Amusingly (and also sadly), I have not and will not be tasting any of them.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Pulls an All-Nighter

As I’ve said before, I love the nighttime. No one is up or moving, and I have the world entirely to myself.

So in an attempt to fix my very unhealthy sleep behavior, I am pulling an all-nighter tonight. I know that it sounds incredibly strange, but if I force myself to stay up for so long, I’ll be able to fall asleep at a normal time tomorrow and start waking up at eight and going to bed at eleven like I should. It works out in its own weird way. I need to foricibly restart my internal clock for it to begin to work properly again.

But for now I’ve got the night stretched out before me, a bottle of seltzer at my side, and an endless amount of forms to fill out, college application essays to write, and Christmas cards to address. It’s going to be wonderful.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Go to Sleep, Ella

My desk and dresser in my bedroom are in what used to be a long closet, and there is this space on the wall above the doorway that I’ve long considered to be the perfect place for posting something. The question has always been what.

I’ve got framed pictures on my bookcases, a “French the Llama” poster (A cartoon llama wearing a baret and smoking on a French Flag) above my dresser, two framed close-up photographs of flowers and a shadow box of pinned butterflies above my bed, and three bulletein boards with collages of photographs, postcards, and hand-drawn or painted cards. The room is pretty dolled up as it is, and yet I still feel the need to fill that empty space.

As of yesterday, I think I may have a winner. I think I should paint “Go to sleep, Ella!” in large letters.

I came up with this idea at four thirty in the morning, an hour I’ve been having a torrid affair with for way too long now. Like I’ve said before, I love being up late at night, just check the publication times of these posts, but it doesn’t do me much good in the long run. Falling asleep in the basement at ten in the morning with my head against the washer isn’t a good habit. Neither is taking one-hour naps at around four o’clock almost every day. And those urges to stop my bike rides to nap on an admittedly sodden piece of grass in the park are really quite terrible.

So this really would be the perfect thing to fill the space. I could use stencils and a nice shade of blue to paint it.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit with my mission to make my room look less like the room of teenager with way too many books and more like an adult who lives in a space that actually adheres to her favorite decorating styles  (check out my tumblr or a CB2 catalog if you want to get a feel for what I like). But until I get my act together and fix this book situation, because, dear Lord, is it a huge problem (Also, Santa, another bookshelf for Christmas would be VERY nice.), it probably wouldn’t hurt to cut the letters out of cardstock and tape them to the wall.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

The Story of Language

I’ve been up for fifty straight hours now, so instead of a normal blog post, I’m going to point you in the direction of this fabulous Stephen Fry documentary called “The Story of Language.”

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.