Sunday, January 21, 2024


As I move through the challenges of being displaced since September because my porch caught on fire and trying to teach the post-COVID, GenZ generation, I decided I needed to add a wee-bit more Hell to my life: I started doing CrossFit.

Why CrossFit? Why not, ya know, taking short walks? Chair Yoga? Wall Pilates? Why not self-flagelation?

Because I've got a lot of aggression to burn off (see first paragraph), and my sister has been doing CrossFit for years. She is a badass that competes. The first time I saw her compete I was blown away by what she could do. I filmed her climbing ropes and thrusting barbells while my nephew sat in my lap and played with my arm fat. 

When you are the sister of Kelli Olsen at Mutiny CrossFit, it elevates you to a certain celebrity status, which is cool. But, it also probably created some expectations that I immediately had to lower.  As Kelli introduced me to the coaches and the regulars, I made sure to add, "I haven't worked out in years."

Which is true. I've been a runner, a gym rat, and a yogi, but I haven't had a consistent exercise routine in like forever. So, I toddle behind my sister hoping the ether of her awesomeness will detract from the shitshow I'm bringin'.  But hey, I wear cute leggings and tank-tops with witty little quips about exercising on them.  As long as I look good, everything will be fine.

Unfortunately, at the end of a class, good is not how I look.

Most of the time I stand in front of the workout board, pointing at the list of exercises and saying, "What is that?" and "We are gonna have to scale that shit back."

And the coaches do scale and modify so I don't die. And I've only died twice over the course of 18 classes.  And I have never been so overwhelmed by testosterone that I've left with a Y chromosome and hair on my chest. 

I do Deadlifts and Sumo Deadlifts.  I do Push Pulls and Push Press. I'm sure there is a Push Drop; I just haven't learn it yet. I do sit-ups and Burpees; no, there are no Fartees. I'm Clean and Hang Clean. I row; I bike: I ski. I do all of the squats: Overhead Squat, Squat Jerk, and Air Squat.  I Climb Mountains and Bear Crawl. I Swing Kettlebells and throw Wall Balls.

Snatches can fuck off. 

I do all the exercises, but I never claimed to do them well. The coaches encourage me to complete the WOD, but mostly I DNF.  I am the weakest and the slowest no matter which class I attend: a woman who has 20 years on me kicks my ass; my fellow middle-agers kick my ass; a crossfitter's kid, who I guess to be around 5 years old, kicks my ass. 

If the 20 and 30-somethings don't kick my ass, that kills their street cred and only elevates mine.  

So why do I do it? Because I am too old for illicit drugs and look much better with an adrenaline rush than. I do it for the eye-candy: the men are healthy and fit and handsome. And they are always smiling. And the women? Gorgeous, powerful, and in command of their own strength. Now, their leggings aren't always as cute as mine, but their confidence makes that moot.

But, Snatches can still fuck off.

And the icing on the cake: some crossfitters bring their dogs!

All jokes aside, don't be intimidated by CrossFit. My sister says it is for anyone and I agree. No matter what I can or cannot do, they always tell me "great job." The guy who dead-lifted 300 lbs while I dead-lifted the bar (and the beginner's bar at that) gives me fist-bumps at the end of the workout. 

Competitions are more like a family event than a ruthless grapple to be considered the best. Athletes encourage and celebrate each other. And, did I mention the eye candy? 

Finally, I do CrossFit because my pants do fit better. I do feel stronger. Ironically, I am polishing up this post after returning from a yoga class where I could enjoy the benefits of my new strength. 

Honestly vanity is the smallest reason I do it, even though I do look pretty good in my cute leggings. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

I Need a Young Priest and an Old Priest

The recent releases of The Nun II, The Exorcist Believer, and even Friday Night at Freddy's attempt to provide audiences glimpses into horrific events that both keep us up at night as well as provide that little adrenaline rush. 

Bitch, please. I got plenty of horror in my life minus the adrenaline rush.

Recently, I was whining about having bronchitis, followed by a painful surgery, then frosted with a spin with COVID (which I didn't recover from until Day 1 of a new school year). I need get into a time machine, go back to the summer, look at myself and say "Bitch, please" because right now I might need a young priest and an old priest to ride the current wave of shit. 

I recovered from COVID and stumbled through the new school year. Then, once I thought I had regrouped, my porch caught fire.

I am not going to go into detail on how my porch caught fire. All I can say it was not my fault and not a freak accident. Accident? Yes. But a stupid one.

Fortunately, I wasn't there because I had vacated with my cats while my hard-wood floors were being sanded and stained. Fortunately, no one was hurt and the damage to my place is minimal. Unfortunately, there is enough damage to displace me for . . . well . . . who knows. So, I have to live with my mom for a while. 

Living with Mom is fine; we have a great relationship. We travel together and rarely, if ever, fight. In her house, I have a bedroom and a newly remodeled bathroom all to myself. The house is big enough for us to have our own space. And there's a television in my room! As a kid / teen Mom wouldn't let me have a television in my room, so I feel a little smug having one in her house now. My sister and nephews are down the street. Mom lives about 45 minutes from Long Beach, but it is a nice, suburban area. The commute to work is the same as from home. No, my temporary "housing" is not the problem.

I am the problem.

When I pulled into Mom's driveway with a carload of what I needed to live there for a while, she said, "Your car is making a funny noise." Not a week later, a service engine light came on for which I could find no meaning for, even when I googled it. (Don't even start talking to me about looking in the car manual. I mean, it is 2023.) I take my car in: three grand to fix it. 

Clearly, the universe has decided that I didn't sustain enough damage in my life as a result of the fire. Glad to contribute to the karmic balance, I guess.

I bought a brand of flavored water I'd never had before, it tasted like ass, so I poured it down the white bathroom sink. Whatever lab experiment flavored the water, stained the newly installed sink.  There is now a smattering of greenish dots running down to her drain. It might have been cool, festive even, if my flavored water had been cherry or strawberry flavored, but instead of looking like blood splatter, the sink looks like it has nuclear waste splatter. 

Sorry Mom.

I mean, I do feel bad. But at least she has a bathroom sink. Hell, she has two. Currently, I have zero. 

One day when I got home from work, Mom told me to go into her office and see if I noticed anything wrong. I should have walked back out the front door and gone back to work. I went into the office, which is right next to her guest, now my, bathroom and thought that somehow between the kitchen and the office I had gotten drunk. Or all those drugs I did in high school decided to stop by and say "hi." The floor of the office seemed warped as if the laminate floor was flowing. It wasn't flowing; it was bowing. 

Mom told me there must be a leak from the bathroom I'm using that is running into the office. The next day, she had the bowing part of the floor ripped up and found water. A lot of water. So, the entire floor was torn up and it appears a pond had been forming, courtesy of moi and the increase water drainage in the guest bathroom.

I suggested we throw in a coy fish and name it Duane. We might make it on the Home and Garden Channel. 

After further investigation, a plumber found a crack in the molding in the shower. Water had been leaking from behind the wall into the office for a month. Her newly remodeled bathroom shower will probably have to be ripped out and the wall aired out. 

Oh, and the floor that needs replacing in her office? It has been discontinued. 

She calls me The One Woman Wrecking Ball, but I think that is an understatement.

I figured it out; I need an exorcism. I mean so far, I've brought fire and flood. Mom asked me if I thought I might have been Attila the Hun in my past life, but I just don't think I've had that level of commitment in any life. Honestly, I think I am the second coming . . . of Satan.

Or would it be the first coming? My Biblical knowledge is limited. Nevertheless, I think I need an exorcism.  All this is happening during the media hype and release of the sequel to The Exorcist. Coincidence? 

While my car was being repaired, I borrowed Mom's car for a trip to a town outside of Fresno. Trust me, I had some trepidation, but I had promised my school's cross country team I'd chaperone a race up in Clovis which is near Fresno. I made a point to touch as few buttons necessary in the car and drive with my hands at the 10 and 2 o'clock position. I even used the navigation on my phone instead of the one in her car. When I got back, the electrical system that controls her navigation, radio, and phone connection had fried. 

Three days ago, when I got home from work, I noticed the lawn beneath my window was dug up and surrounded by caution tape. I should have backed out.

Turns out, while the plumber was testing for any additional links in the bathroom plumbing, he discovered that the septic system has "several hairline fractures." The wave of shit imagery I lead with in this post has become literal. 

So, two successful, affluent grown women might be sharing a bathroom and a bedroom. Honestly, Mom will make me pitch a tent in the backyard before sharing a bed with me. And I'm not sure I blame her. Trust me, if there was a way for me to get away from myself, I would have done so a long time ago. 

I ran my exorcism theory by a co-worker. Between the war in Ukraine and the devastation in the Gaza strip, he saw the logic in my theory. He did make a request: if I am bringing the end-of-days, can I give him time to get through his bucket list?

Well, sure. I mean right now, I'm just tearing down mine and mom's house; it might take a while for me to tear down the world. But I am going to do it one toilet and car at a time.

All I know is that my mom makes the cross out of her fingers when I walk in the front door and my sister has not invited me over. 

And an interesting factoid to leave y'all with: if I had been born a boy, my parents planned to name me Damien. I shit you not. Quite the omen.

Monday, September 4, 2023

I Need a Nap . . . Forever

As mentioned in earlier posts, I turned 50 last year and am fast approaching 51, and just like that, I should be considering moving to Miami, Florida. Unfortunately, I do not look as good as the ladies from Sex and the City and I am definitely not as cool as The Golden Girls.

I hate everything about being 50. I hate the stigmatism of being "middle age"; I hate my sore knees and back; I hate my wrinkles; I really hate that muumuus and lounge dresses are more appealing than dark jeans and sequenced tops.

I remember in college I could do a dozen things a day on 6 hours of sleep: attend class, work full time, exercise and even maintain a social life. When I started teaching, I was still finishing my credential. So my day became working in the morning, working out in the afternoon, and then going to class 3 nights a week. I wrote a hundred-page thesis when I was 30, teaching full time, and starting a new relationship. I didn't work out as regularly, but exercise was still a part of my life until I broke up with both the relationship and significant physical movement when I was staring down the barrel of turning 40.

I know its been a tortoise / hair race between my body and my mind toward, ya know, death, but I can't figure out which is which, and even then, which is winning.

Somewhere in my mid 40s, I realized that if I want to do two things in one day, I need a nap in-between or bookend my "busy" day with 8-10 hours of sleep. Run an errand, or god help me, exercise after work? In bed by 8 p.m. Dinner with a friend after work? Nap in-between. Clean on a Saturday morning and then socialize Saturday night? Nap. Have one of my nephews overnight and then do anything afterward? Major nap.

Day-drinking has taken on an entire new significance now that I'm fucking middle-aged. My party starts at noon, and either is broken up with a nap or ends at 6 p.m. I need a minimum of 3 days to sober up and sleep it off.

So it proves to be a challenge when one's feeble attempt to reclaim her youth includes going to as many heavy metal concerts as possible. Honestly, if I want to reclaim my youth I can go out and make staggeringly bad relationship choices and then crash my car.

Most recently, my sister and I saw Godsmack on a Thursday night and I had to go to work the next day because it was the second week of school. In addition, I was supposed to be having my nephews for a sleepover. Now, I don't take both nephews at once; there aren't enough naps in the world to prep me for that. If I want to enjoy myself, I only take one at a time for one night. So it might be Jay on Friday night, then I swap for Blake on Saturday, then take Blake home Sunday, take a 2 hours nap, and spend the rest of the day readjusting my apartment and my brain.

But, when my sister and sister and I were working out what we call kid schlepping details, I didn't realize that all three events were back-to-back. I only realized it after I started updating my Google calendar. Once I realized my scheduling impossibility, I went storming into her office and nearly screamed: "I cannot have a kid the two nights after a concert!"

My sister looked up from her planner, filled with writing and post-it-notes. Her computer is flashing and beeping in the background. Her half-cast eyes show exhaustion; her slack jaw shows confusion. Or exhaustion. Or both. My sister has two kids every night of her life: one kid is heavily into sports, and she is very conscious of giving the kid not in sports as much of her time and attention as the other.

I held up my hands to stop any other comment from her and said, "I'll die. I mean, it's the first week of school."

My sister's profession includes the title of "director." The only directing I do is of teenage fuckery. My sister hosts seminars, zoom meetings with a dozen people who also have impressive titles including terms like "regional," "statewide," and "national." I have talks with adolescents about why they shouldn't have their earbuds in while I am teaching, even if "they are turned off." My sister holds workshops and seminars for people with PhDs. I teach how to capitalize the personal pronoun "I" to a class of gangling teens who are literally sweating hormones.

My sister flips back to August in her planner, propped her elbow and dropped her head into her hands and said, "Okay . . ."

We worked it out so that I wouldn't die. And a big shout-out to my baby sis who probably could use a nap, but still manages to function, and function well, without one.

Me? I had to take a nap after the near fatal scheduling mistake I nearly made.

Friday, August 11, 2023


I promise: Genres of My Life will not turn into my personal diary full of narcissistic whining about things that really aren't that bad. But, for now, I am just slinging up anything that may have one good sentence in it (aka, gaining traction). 

But, when one gets COVID and is in forced reclusion, there is very little to post about. Narcissistic Whining must be a genre; if not, the linguistic community needs to get that shit canonized before "bruh" is. 

I'm not going to complain about how awful I feel. Because I have a fantastic immune system, my symptoms are minimal. My two BFFs, whom I gave it to, not so much. They are such good friends that they took on the more than their share of COVID pie. 💖you ladies!

No, my bone to pick with the universe is not that I have COVID, but it is because of when I have COVID.

My rah-rah teacher day is Monday and I have students on Wednesday. As you read this, I should be in my classroom doing my contract-anointed "float day," but I can't get within 10 miles of campus. I have not been in my classroom since they waxed the floors. If you are a teacher, no other explanation is needed; the collective gasp can be heard around the world. 

For those who don't fall under the educator umbrella, what that means I have to plug in everything (and in a classroom, plugging into the Matrix in no easy task), clean up my decorations (there has been a mad game of Tic Tack Toe going on the construction paper that lines my back wall), and xerox . . . something (digital age or not, GenX teachers don't feel they are ready for a new school year until they photo-copy for at least an hour). 

Being 26 years into my career, I can roll in and throw down some bullshit for a couple days (if any of my administrators are reading this . . . deliver pre-planned, relevant and rigorous lessons that build relationships). Nevertheless, I was going to prepare for the new year for 2-3 long days in my classroom before the year started. Roost around a little bit: clean some shelves, organize my teaching library by genre, organize some desk drawers, put up the posters I never got around to putting up last summer, transfer my 20 meeting invites from my inbox to my new bougie planner that I'll use for a month. Reline the back wall with clean construction paper for the 2023-24 Tic Tack Toe season. Xerox . . . something.

Nope, no roosting, nesting, settling, pulling-shit-together for me. I'm behind before anything has even started. 

But hey, COVID didn't leave me totally hangin'. According to isolation and return-to-work instructions, it is safe for me to return to work just in time for rah-rah teacher day. Great! Can't get my room ready, but I'll be front and center for all those welcome back meetings.  


(Hey, let me know where the good sentence was. The narcissistic whining I can find easily enough.)

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Professional Development

I never have, nor ever will, manage my money to get by in the summer. Even with my district managing the academic calendar so that teachers get paid 11 months out of 12 (rather than the traditional 10 months), I still stress out in August as I watch my balance shrink and my bills remain robust.

Meh, fiscal responsibility is for wimps. 

Instead, I do a lot of professional development to earn some extra cash. Pay me, I'll do it. I'll workshop the shit out of any teaching technique you want. I'll learn how to teach math, science, underwater basket weaving . . . whatever. Attend trainings for online teaching programs that I'll never use during the school year? Done. (If any of my principals are reading this, I PD in the summer to grow and hone my skills as a teacher. And those online education platforms? Love them 😍)   

Of course you are all probably snickering as you think "She can pole dance" but then I must remind you that one of my new themes for the blog is that I'm fucking 50. I need to earn money not go to jail. 

Regardless, I do try to go into teaching workshops and the like with an auspicious attitude. Even if I don't learn something new, it helps refresh best practices that I might have left by the wayside. Sometimes, they reinforce that I am doing a couple things right.

In July, I virtually attended my first AVID training. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. The program seeks to provide disadvantaged students access to resources and rigor to "close the gap" in their learning. It is basically moving through a series of teaching techniques that provide students success with reading difficult texts and writing cohesively. 

How's that paragraph for sounding professional? Well, the development stops there.

Like a good conference attendee, I did all my prework the night before: I watched the tutorial to learn how to use the meeting platform; I tested my technology so that everything would work the next day.

Ya, that last one: as if. 

So, I wake up Monday morning with enough time to make myself camera presentable, brew some coffee and enjoy a few quiet moments waiting for all neurons to start firing-- or at least a couple neurons. But of course, the moment I sit down at my desk and turn on my computer to join the training, I realize my internet is not working. No idea why. It was working 12 hours previous and I hadn't done anything online since my technology check. But, if anyone can jack-up her technology without even being on said technology, it's me.

I restart my computer. I restart my modem. No internet. Both seem to be powered up and there are no alarming red lights flashing. I turn off my power strip to hard restart everything in my office. Still, the computer telling me it cannot find any available wireless connections. I am close to restarting my entire apartment by throwing the breaker. Unfortunately, being "camera ready" does not mean I should actually leave the house. 

I say the f-word a lot. 

Turns out the problem is with my desktop, but I don't have time figure it out. It's 10 minutes to go time and I need a minimum of 2 hours to fix my tech. So I grab my laptop, which isn't charged. To be comfortable, it would be better to sit in a my large, loungy-like chair called a "cuddler" but I have to crawl over the back to reach the electrical socket. I plug in my laptop, grab my coffee and put it on the C-table, then settle myself in. I secure a bolster pillow under my knees, put my lap desk in place. Of course, as I grab my laptop, the power cord hooks my coffee cup and sends my survival juice sailing across the room and my auspicious mood out the window.

More f-words. Climbing out of my gauntlet of comfort, I throw a few pillows across the room, refresh my coffee.

I am now officially late. I regroup: add some Bailey's to the coffee, snuggled back up in my chair. Prep the lap desk and laptop so that it won't tangle on anything when I move it. Place the coffee on the table. Make the sign of the cross, bow to the east, sacrifice a couple chickens. I crawl back into my cuddler, get myself all wedged and propped, and log on in time just as the welcoming message is ending. 

Next time, I'm not checking shit before an online training. I'm just gonna roll out of bed 10 minutes before and log on late. 

Monday, July 31, 2023

Thank You for Returning

I struggled with how to title this post. I've already done the "I'm Back" in 2018 when I intended to post regularly. Turns out that didn't happen.

My posting streak seems to have ended about 10 years ago. Since then, I've thrown up a dozen "meh" posts. 

So, what happened? I don't know. My blogging silence wasn't because I was building a legacy: didn't write any new novels, didn't get any works published, didn't get married, didn't have kids, and didn't become a teaching guru. 

But what did happen was I lost my dad, an aunt and an uncle, and both grandmothers. I gained 2 nephews. I wrote very little and taught a lot.

Oh, then there was COVID.

I realize I'm not the only one who has been assaulted with change, who are looking back over the last 5-10 years and thinking: what the fuck did I accomplish? Why I am so fucking tired? 

Why return to blogging now? Still, no answers. Maybe I need to reflect on all the shit I didn't accomplish in my 40s now that I am 50. Maybe I need cheap therapy. Or maybe someone reading this will think: "Thank the goddess I'm not the only one." Even better: "Wow, this bitch is a mess; I feel much better about myself." I can be the guru of bad decisions and train wrecks. Hell, I might already be.

In my usual, hopefully more sophisticated, sarcastic voice, I will be posting on themes of the past: teaching, language / slang, my ongoing battle with technology, the enigma of teenage behavior (formally known as "To Quote My Grandmother: Why Are Teenagers so Stupid?") In addition, I hope to write about being an auntie, being fucking 50 years old, and maybe . . . maybe dating.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Cheap Way to Sleep: Me

When my two best friends and I travel together, sharing a hotel room can be a challenge. Over the years, we've worked out a system for getting ready so that we have all the bathroom time we need to get pretty in a timely manner: Cher needs at least two hours to move through her very thorough and meticulous regiment: Lisa needs less time, but still adheres to a formula to produce her beauty, so she gets to shower second. Me? I can slap myself together in forty minutes, because well, I give far less of a shit what I look like than the other two.

What we haven't worked out is compromising on the sleeping atmosphere. Arrangement, we've got down: we reserve a two-bed room and one of us brings and aerobed. What we can't seem to get a handle on are setting the perfect conditions for each of us to get a good night's rest.

I need absolute darkness and silence in order to wind down; both of my BFFs need the noise and the light of the television. Because I'm out-numbered, I  have to lump it. We've tried shoving me in dark corners or angling the television screen away from me; nevertheless, I usually spend the night dozing on and off. (Trust me, when I win the lottery, marry rich, or start making money off this damn blog, I'll be reserving my own room.)

On one occasion I stood my ground and demanded they set the television on a timer so that I could enjoy some peace and quiet. They acquiesced by setting the timer for six fucking hours. I meant for it to be set for maybe two hours to give them enough time to go to sleep and leave me the dark and quiet I need to stay asleep.

I woke up at 4 a.m., the damn television still on: the Pavlovian gong of Law and Order echoing throughout the room. I lie there watching the stupid episode--one I'd seen around 25 times-- until I finally snatched up the remote and turned Jack McCoy's indigence off. Instantly, Cher and Lisa both shot up in bed like mummies or vampires rigged to pop out of a coffin in a haunted house. I swear their hands were formed like claws, and they bared their teeth at me.

I invited McCoy back into our bedroom.

Getting a good night's rest is a challenge for most everyone; in fact, according to American Sleep Association (ASA), between 30-40% of adults struggle with sleeping. The ASA suggests adults get 7-9 hours of sleep. If a "children's" book called Go the Fuck to Sleep by Gilbert Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes gets nearly a five-star rating on Amazon and entices Samuel L. Jackson and Morgan Freeman to do a dramatic reading, feeling rested is a rarity. 

We all have certain conditions for getting a good-night sleep. Regardless of over-booked and over-stressed lives that should guarantee at the end of the day, many still fight insomnia. Our bodies in hyper-drive in order to plow through our long days, our brains full of worries and our eyes staring at screens for . . . well . . . every bloody minute of the day make it difficult to wind down, drift into a peaceful sleep, and stay in it until the alarm goes off. 

There are sleep therapists, drugs, and apps to help, but my advice is much, much cheaper and less addictive.

There are many things I'm willing to compromise and/or give up: vegetables, overtime, making my bed, but I will not deprive myself of sleep.  No matter what, I will get my 7-9 hours a night. Hell, I've hosted parties where I have gone to bed and left my guests to fend for themselves. 

How do I do it? Well, I don't have kids, which I'll admit helps. Even without them, I do have a full-time and a part-time job, a commute, food to prepare, laundry to do, an apartment to clean, errands to run, and a desire to keep up some semblance of a social life.  Believe me, turning off my brain is no easy task. And I can stare at a screen as much as the next person. So, I developed a routine that guarantees a good night's rest. I've shared my approach with colleagues, friends and family, of which one told me I needed to blog about my recipe because she found it so effective.

I use Blue Light Filter
First, and I know this suggestion will sound sacrilegious, make sure to filter out all the blue-light from your devices--phones, tablets, computers--at around 8 p.m. There are a lot of apps that allow you to set a timer so it happens automatically. Of course it detracts from the vividness of graphics, but it is those graphics that convince your brain to stay awake.

About and hour before I hope to be asleep, I turn my television to a show I've seen many times and is formulaic so it doesn't require require my full attention. The mere sound of the characters' voices, theme song or score acts as a signal to my brain it is time to disengage.  I am partial to Forensic Files, but if blood spatter analysis and mitochondria DNA doesn't lull you to sleep, then I suggest  Law and Order or NCIS.  I only watch shows involving murder, so my suggestions are limited. Again, the key is formulaic and repetitive. You don't necessarily want to sit and watch it, but more listen to it while you prepare for bed.

I shower at night, so the warm water relaxes me. I take my time drying off, apply a myriad of lotions to lift, tighten while also plumping aging parts of my face and then I slather lotion on the rest of me and hope for the best. While waiting for one layer of lotion to sink in before slapper on another, I'll do some very easy stretching: touching my toes, raising my arms over my head and bending side to side, throw in a nice and easy sun-salutation or two. I am nowhere near breaking a sweat, but I am working out some tension, nice an easy.

Scent is critical to my relaxation. Lavender will always do the trick: use lavender scented body wash, lavender scented body lotion, and then to top (or bottom) it all off, put some lavender oil on the bottom of your feet. Trust me on the foot thing--it is magic.

Once you climb into bed, take a few minute to mentally put all your stresses away.  What I do is turn any taxing thought into a photo and then visualize myself putting that picture into a box. Once I've "put away" all my stress, I place a lid on the box and put it away (slide it under my bed, tuck into my closet, or throw it out my bedroom window). I might have to repeat this visualization a few times depending on what is going on in my life at the time.

For those of you who need sound to sleep, instead of leaving the television on, stream soothing music or nature sounds. I play rain sounds throughout the night. If you must have the dialogue of a television show, wear a sleep mask so the light doesn't keep your brain stimulated (and yes, this happens even when eyes are closed). Lisa used to leave Criminal Minds on all night until her boyfriend told her the sound of screaming women being murdered was interrupting his REM cycle. As much as I would like Derek Morgan in my bedroom, no matter what form, he will keep me awake.

Many don't have the luxury of fitting in an hour's worth of sleep-prep, so these steps can definitely be moved through more quickly.

Now, go the fuck to sleep.