Keep Calm and Cillian On

It’s been a while since I’ve written. That’s because I’ve been busy. I started my own business (and seem to have an absolute inability to turn away work, even when it’s been months since my last day off and there’s not a clean plate or pair of underwear in sight), I bought and am renovating a 100-year-old farm, and like everyone else on the planet, I have been spending a lot of time trying not to give anyone cooties, and most recently, I’ve been sleeping on my couch, because my 21-year-old cat has been ill – not super-seriously, but enough that she doesn’t want to sleep anywhere but on the back of the couch under the heat pump. But she also wails if I am out of sight – and at her age, she gets what she wants. So, I’m on the couch, instead of my love-it-so-much-I-wanna-have-its-babies Logan and Cove pillow-top mattress (yeah, I’m giving them a plug without compensation because I just love it that much). And while my couch is fine for many activities, sleeping on it every night makes me feel like a geriatric hobo.

Add to all that a caffeine sensitivity and the fact that I had a cup of coffee two mornings in a row this week and you’ll understand how it came to be that I was scrolling through my feed at 3 am last night, wide awake and annoyed about it.

Then, as I was scrollin’, who should appear in my feed but the delightful Irish actor, Cillian Murphy, suggesting with his velvety brogue that he could help me sleep with a “sleep story”.

Like I’m going to turn down THAT offer.

So, I downloaded the Calm app, which promised to put me to sleep within 15 minutes. And naturally, I’m assuming being lulled to sleep in this way would ensure my dreams included at least one, er, romantic one involving Mr. Murphy. All right! Let’s do this! [SPOILER ALERT: The following will reveal some of what you might hear in this sleep story. But mostly it will reveal what happens in my brain when I’m sleep-deprived, which is way worse.]

I logged in and was greeted by the offer of a bedtime story read by Matthew McConaughey. Now, I don’t mind the guy. He’s cute enough, kind of funny, his stoner antics are always entertaining to read about. BUT I cannot imagine anything less restful than trying to fall asleep listening to an American southern drawl. (There were also a lot of stories by people I’d never heard of, and many that involved trains.)

Luckily, a quick search brought up the promised Cillian story (and it was, indeed, about a train).

So, I fluffed my duvet, and my hair (’cause you still want to feel pretty, even for imaginary boyfriends), and settled in, ready for the magic to start.

I pressed play, and there it was – “Hello. My name is Cillian, and welcome to my sleep story.” [*From here on, it might be helpful, in the interest of realism, to read the words really, really, really fast.]

Wait – is that a little loud? Better turn the volume down. And nestle in and try to look serenely cute. Okay, let’s do this.

Oh, it’s going to be a virtual train trip across Ireland? Cool! I just recently found out my brother and I are half-Irish! This will be good research for that trip there we’ve been talking about. I wonder if a train would be better than renting a car? Of course, if we rent a car, we might have to drive on the other side of the road. Do they drive on the other side of the road in Ireland? I’m going to have to remember to Google that. Better stick that on my to-do list. Oh, shit, speaking of errands, I forgot to buy more coffee and I used the last of it this morning – wait! Focus! It’s sleep time!!

Mmm, the Irish accent is the sexiest accent, amirite? Yeah, this is good. This is totally gonna work. I’m going to be so well-rested and get sooo much work done tomorrow.

Wait, the phone just slipped behind the pillow. Maybe I should grab my buds. Nope, those hurt my ears when I’m lying down. Okay, just have to find a good place for the phone where I can hear it, but it will be safe until I wake up. Okay, where was I?

Huh. He’s quoting C.S. Lewis. I really should re-read the Narnia books now, so I can decide if they really are the Christian propaganda they have come to be known as, since I know Lewis himself was a mixed bag about the whole thing. It’s weird to be Irish by blood but have no religious affiliations. It’s such a big deal there. I wonder if Cillian is Catholic or Protestant or neither? I’d probably be willing to convert for Cillian. Huh – I wonder if he’s already married? I’m going to have to remember to Google that.

Weird – where did his accent go? Does he still have an accent? It’s starting to sound neutral to me now. I’m probably just getting accustomed to it. That might be an interesting topic for a research project if I ever decide to return to neuroscience. Or maybe it’s a sign I’m meant to move to Ireland and take up sheep farming. For wool, of course, not meat. I really like knitting. I wonder if Cillian knits? I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that Celtic men used to do a lot of knitting when they were between battles.

Wait – what did he just say about an oversized couch? How does he know I’m sleeping on an oversized couch? Obviously, we’re soulmates. I’ve always known it. Anyway, I better rewind that bit and listen to it again. Don’t want to miss anything.

What’s a brambling? I’ve been getting into bird-watching lately, but I’ve never heard of that one. I’m going to have to remember to Google that. I wonder if they live here? They sound cute. I mean, my favourites are the little dark-eyed juncos that roost in my quince bushes, but I’m open to new things.

He’s talking about C.S. Lewis again. I wonder where my Narnia books are? I must still have them here. Haven’t seen them in a while, though. I haven’t had a chance to Dewey-decimal my library again since I moved. Oh, I can’t wait to do that! It’s so satisfying. But I’ve got thousands of books. I’m going to need to block off like a week or something to get that done as soon as I get caught up on work. I’m currently booked for the next five months, so I really should mark vacation time on my calendar first thing in the morning.

Wait – what’s he talking about? I missed something. Better rewind again.

I should look at the map to follow along with what he’s talking about. Always good to learn about geography. Remember that game I made for myself, with the world map on the wall and little stickies with the countries’ names on them so I could test my knowledge? That was a really good idea. I learned so much.

Oh, I just caught the names Joyce, Yeats, and Tolkien. Better pay more attention. I forgot Yeats was Irish. He’s my second favourite poet. I used to scribble “Never Give All the Heart” on school desks when I was a teen. I don’t read enough poetry anymore. But I really loved that one Amanda Gorman recited at the inauguration. God, I’m glad Trump is gone.

Oh, he just mentioned peregrine falcons. So funny – I was just thinking the other day how cool it would be to learn falconry. And peregrines in particular, because they can dive at ridiculously fast speeds, which reminds me of skydiving, which I haven’t been able to do since I busted my knee. I really need to call my surgeon and reschedule that knee surgery.

How is it every word he says sounds sexy? Hahaha – okay, except for the word “Limerick”, because that’s just silly. I should learn some good limericks before I visit there. Are limericks all dirty, though? There must be some wholesome ones – because, you know, I just don’t want to be cliché.

OMG THERE’S A CAVE CALLED “HOLE OF GOLLUM”???? How did I not know this???? I’ve read LOTR 8,946 times!!! I taught myself how to write Elvish when I was 10!!! I mean, you have to, when your mom keeps breaking into your diary. I wonder if I should start keeping a handwritten diary again? I’ve been keeping it in the computer lately, because it’s faster to type, but there’s something so nice about paper. And I have that really nice, expensive, gilt journal I bought at the Kitchen Witch. I should hit that place up again soon – haven’t been in it since it moved across the river.

Wait – why has he stopped talking? It’s over? Why am I still awake?

I really need to stop with the coffee.

Interview With My Cat

I didn’t sleep last night.  This was for a number of reasons, but it was mainly because my cat is an asshole.  (It was also because the motion-sensitive light below my window kept strobing on and off, but this was because of my neighbour’s cat, so…still…cat.)

So, since I’m having trouble with making the words today, I think I’ll make someone else the star of the show today, since she clearly wanted to be the centre of attention ALL NIGHT LONG.

Her name is Balloons.  (It was actually supposed to be “Petunia”, but it devolved into “Tuney”, then “Tuney-Balloony” and I think you see where I’m going with this.)

Balloons is 15 years old.  She has never been sick a day in her life and has the energy of a 6-month-old kitten.  I think I need to start feeding her crap food.

Let’s find out what makes her tick.


This is where Her Highness receives admirers.

DREA:  So, Balloons, you had a lot of energy last night.  What was that about?

BALLOONS:  I don’t know what you’re talking about.

DREA:  Well, there was that time you headbutted my face 50 times in a row.  It kind of hurt.

BALLOONS:  You headbutted ME.

DREA:  I didn’t lick you on the nose.

BALLOONS:  I was tasting you so I can plan the condiments for when you die alone and I eat your face.

DREA:  How about at 3 am when I heard a weird noise and looked up to see you climbing the mirror over the dresser, where – to my knowledge – you’ve never been before?

BALLOONS:  Right.  I’ve never been up there before.

DREA:  No, really, what were you doing?

BALLOONS:  I do NOT have a secret compartment behind the mirror filled with state-of-the-art satellite communication equipment.  I just wanted to see if I’m still pretty.

DREA:  And you know, there’s a reason that toys that jingle are banned in the bedroom.  There is a toy basket filled with sleep-approved toys beside the chair.  Where did you even get that little ball with the bell inside?

BALLOONS:  Amazon.

DREA:  So that’s what those charges on my credit card were…

BALLOONS: Right.  Just innocent little cat toys.

DREA:  You know, the reason we can afford cat toys is because I work.  One thing you may not be aware of is that working is a lot easier if a person is well-rested.  And it’s not so easy to stay asleep with you hooking your paw around my wrist to lift my hand onto your head when you want pats.

BALLOONS:  I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Sometimes you pat me in your sleep.  I think you dream about me.  Besides, maybe I had a busy night and required therapeutic massage.

DREA:  I also noticed you vocalizing rather enthusiastically quite early this morning and thought maybe you were being like those cats we see on TV who wake their people when there’s a fire, but it turned out you were just excited about a poo.  I wonder if there’s a quieter way you could use the litter box at night?


DREA:   Okay, okay! Settle down!  Can you explain why you were also crying to your dish, which was still half-full?