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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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And If That Mocking Bird Don’t Sing

Editing is still the love of my life. It’s like working on a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. You start with the border. You follow the patterns, each piece locks into the next. Crappy simile aspiring to be a metaphor. Drew Barrymore on Colbert. She is so completely adorable. What the fuck is she wearing? I think I’m winding down, guys. The tank is empty. Ha ha. My business partner calls me The Tank, and I see myself rolling across the desert, squashing a gila monster. I think I have to go back to reading before I go to sleep instead of tap dancing. My husband is quietly snoring, a Geoff Dyer book splayed open on his chest. I will take it off and mark his page, turn out the light.

What do you do before you go to bed?

63 Responses

  1. I read you.

  2. Put on strange, ragged clothing, that is important to me, inside out so the seams don’t chafe, drink Ovaltine, maybe read, maybe write, maybe try to watch tv. Drift into clonopin Nirvana.

  3. I have to look for and then look at something beautiful. It could be a bit of poetry in a book. Or a lovely bohemian modern room at one of the online design sites like my favorite Sfgirlbybay. I’m not above, in a pinch, making it the moon or a school of sparkling stars as my thing of beauty before bed. And if I’m totally lazy, there are always my dogs snoozing away, they are so lovely and innocent. Looking for a thing of beauty is also what I do first thing in the morning as a sort of beauty bookend.

  4. I’m trying out this whole e-reader thing with an impulse purchase, Sullivan’s MAINE. The overhead lights are out, the husband has smoothed the covers over himself. A snore starts up. There I am at his right, the spouse who gets to sleep past 5:00 am, accompanied by the white-bright light of Kindle, trying to suppress snorts of laughter, commanding the “pages” to skitter along with the brush of a finger.

    Sometimes I fall asleep like that, the tablet lying across my tits like one of those Glamor Don’t swatches.

  5. Well, who gives a rat’s arse what I do every other night… cos today is my birthday (yup, me n Charles Dickens both), so before bed tonight I’ll be investing all sorts of emotional energy into hoping Ms iSkirt has a spectacular present for me when I get to bed.
    Shall I post the video of it on my blog tomorrow ?
    Hello…. hello…. Hmmmm, why did people stop visiting my blog after my birthday ?

  6. I need to read before I sleep, and sometimes the reading keeps me up. But if it does, it’s worth it. I never regret staying up all night to read a book. LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow. STOLEN by Lucy Christopher, I AM THE MESSENGER by Markus Zusak. Sleepy drowsy next days that were so worth it.

  7. brush my teeth.

  8. Tea and toast…then check for unsavoury characters loitering under the street lights. Hope you have a Dickens of a birthday, harryipants…and get everything you wish for x

  9. Funny – I was thinking about this today – the two best moments in my day are when I take the first sip of tea in the morning and when I get into bed and put my feet on the hot water-bottle.
    I have a sad life…

    • Then I’m sad too. I love sleep and dreaming more than anything, so I always love that moment when you turn off the light and get under the covers and put your head on the pillow. Bliss. The getting up part, however, is not so much fun for me!

    • I think it sounds English, in an English-heroine type way.

    • Love the whole hot water bottle thing.

    • That hot water bottle sounds good and tea is a nice, peaceful way to start the day.

      • I like hot water bottles too but what I don’t like is how you have to buy the thing in the pharmacy department where it comes with a douche hose and you suddenly find yourself saying, ‘It’s for my feet!’

  10. I reach over and grab my bite plate only to be reminded of how old I have become.

  11. Walk near the bayou with Beauregardless The Dog, taking in the quiet and the distant lights,. listening for the wind, looking at the water. Then a few minutes reading.

    The day starts at the bayou, but it is very different. The east is lightening, the west still dark. Birds click and groan, and sometimes fly.

    • Is that really his name? In the words of our Lyra, LOVE.

      • That really is his name, but we call him Bo.

        He’s alert, strong, and protective, and we keep an eye on each other. But I worry a little about a gator or cottonmouth. At least rattlesnakes have the decency to warn you.

    • This sounds heavenly, Frank. And Beauregardless — what kind of dog? I imagine a hundred pounds of something.

      • Bo is a pit bull, black and white, eighty strong pounds. A young neighbor left to work in the oil spill, and we became wary foster parents. It was tough, because Robert Grizzly Bear, ours for twelve years, was not long gone.

        The neighbor returned and Bo went home.The neighbor left again, and Bo returned to stay, and is family now.

        He swims well, and sails, too.

    • Dog names are kind of a hobby of mine. And Beauregardless may be the best so far. Lucky dog, living by the bayou, all those musky smells

      • I bred and raced greyhounds, so had the privilege of naming each dog twice, real name and racing name. Great fun, and interesting how sometimes a name will evolve over the years into something else.
        They are the most beautiful gentle and loving animals.
        Sometimes the racing names would be from literary characters, or a great line in a book or song. Others would be a bit of a joke to do with their breeding to see what I could get away with. One of those was eventually changed by the controlling body, apparently Honour An Offer was “unacceptably explicit”.

  12. You mark his place and turn out the light? What a tender image!

    As for me, I stumble around in the dark feeling around for a good place to put my glasses and then I generally knock something over and wake up my husband!

  13. Glance at the clock, swear I’ll get to bed at at a decent time tomorrow, power down the laptop, snag a book and read it while brushing my teeth, try to remember to take out my contacts, go potty one last time, read two more pages, put the book next to the sink for morning toothbrushing, turn on my alarm clock, and fall face-first onto the bed.

  14. “What do you do before you go to bed?”

    I take off most of my clothes. Before that, I do other things (e.g., brush my teeth).

    My next-door neighbor has a pit bull he named Tank. Next-door neighbor is a law student. He and Tank gonna lay down the law, set some people straight.

  15. I read until the book falls out of my hand, then I take off my glasses and turn off the lamp, which wakes me up, so I read until the book falls out of my hand … this goes on for a while.

    I haven’t slept well for over 20 years. I’d give almost anything to be able to sleep through the night without waking.

    • I haven’t slept well in over a decade. Not that I want to get into any competition about it.

      Last night something woke me at about 2:00. I thought it was the sound of a balloon bursting, or a heavy hardcover book being dropped flat to the floor of the laundry room down the hall. The cat who sleeps between me and my wife was awake and alert but not frightened. She was alerting on the bedroom door, which we sleep with partly opened so the cats can get in and out. I put on my glasses and got up and put on my robe and got my rifle from the closet. I removed the trigger guard. I quickly realized the chamber was probably empty and I would have to cycle the bolt to chamber a round. I also realized that while I was familiar with how the safety worked on my old rifle, I wasn’t sure how it worked on the one I now have. I didn’t want to shoot anyone anyway, not last night. The moon was almost full and there was good light in the house. I quietly stepped into the hallway. The house was not cold and I figured if anyone had broken in it would be cold, or I would feel the cold coming in. I walked down the hall to the living room, rifle at the ready but chamber empty and safety on. I wouldn’t want to shoot anyone by mistake. If there were an intruder I would just want to scare him (it would almost certainly be a him). Another cat was sleeping peacefully in the moonlight in the living room, so I put my rifle away, disrobed, deglassed, and went back to bed. But I couldn’t get back to sleep. My mind would not let go of bothersome things from the day and it was well after 3:00 before I got back to sleep. Then up at 4:50 to breakfast and get a little writing done before showering, dressing, and catching the 7:33 bus downtown to the office. I do not know what the noise was that awoke me, or even if it came from without my head or within.

      • The last time I got up to investigate a noise in the night (I swear I don’t have a gun), it turned out that one of my cats had pushed the toaster off the counter. Quite a crash, and quite an achievement, since the toaster hadn’t been at all close to the edge.

  16. Listen to the drunks singing, each to each.

  17. I apply a thin layer of Renova to my ever-youthful skin, step over the dog, climb into bed next to my husband and read for a few minutes. Right now: new annotated Persuasion.

  18. Last night I had a funny talk with my youngest, about how our dogs and cats would sound if they had human voices. Very very funny.

    • My neighbour has a dog upstairs with the nastiest sharp little bark. I imagine the pup would sound like very nebby and argumentative with a human voice, and I’m quite glad this will never be so.

      My parent’s cats however would be charmingly insistent and chatty.

    • I’m so glad it’s not just us. We’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time discussing what kind of accent each cat would have.

  19. I read, of course.

  20. A little MSNBC, edit, swear at tea-party, edit, feet on heating-pad with 2 hr auto turn-off. Wake up and go to bed when feet get cold.

  21. Around 9:30 I might say, “I think I’ll go upstairs and take a bath,” which Husband knows is code for “I’m going to bed, you won’t see me again tonight, can you please let the dogs out.”

    I read, one page or 30, depending. Last night it was The Tiger’s Wife — I don’t know that I love the book, but she is one hell of a patient writer for her age, for any age.

  22. I think of the ever optimistic tomorrow. Tomorrow I will write, not eat chocolate cake. Then I read.

  23. tsp of cod liver oil, brush, floss, pee and read until my eyes close.

    • Blech! Cod liver oil takes me back to my childhood when my mother mixed my dose with orange juice and it immediately popped back up to the top of the glass
      and made me gag.

  24. It varies. Some nights I read, sometimes play guitar for awhile, quiet, fingerpicking, half hour minimum. I usually wind up doing the dishes because my wife is putting our daughter to bed and then reading until I come to bed. NOTE: Never do dishes and then play guitar; it’s good to have clean hands, but not soft fingertips. Ouch. I feed the woodstove, close the damper, lower the thermostat in the new side of the house and take the dog out. Perhaps the best thing about having a dog is the forced walks in all kinds of weather (I’m envying your warm climate these days, Frank). Sometimes it’s so cold I fear my lungs may freeze, but on those nights the woodsmoke rises straight in the air, the stars are plentiful and bright, the northern lights flashing and dancing across, things I would’ve missed had the dog not been whimpering by the door. I always mark my territory with a late night pee, a ritual that drives my wife insane when she sees the yellow snow, courtesy of me and the dog (It’s so quiet where I live that I can go out and pee on the center line of the county highway, rarely having to stop in midstream for an approaching car or a startled fox issuing a strange bark-like warning). Inside, I wash up, floss and brush my teeth, kiss my sleeping little girl gently on the cheek, pull her covers up a bit and then snuggle in next to my wife. Morning will be here too soon and I’ll awaken at least once if it’s cold enough for the trees to loudly pop in the frigid night air.

    • Ah, the joys of marking our territory. I can never understand why women are always pointing out that there’s a “perfectly good toilet inside”. This simple act connects us to the natural world, in contrast to connecting us to the sewer. And it’s also good for the lemon tree…

  25. I love that you mark his page for him. That being said I’m the slap him awake and tell him there’s a book on his chest kind of girl 🙂

  26. These daze I often cover myself with regret before I slip into sleep. Regreting that I didn’t write a damn thing today, that I’ll never get published, that I’m deluding myself, that I’m a procrastinator who will just continue on this damn circle jerk and keep playing my tune but never mastering it. Just another gerbil on the wheel and running like hell and going nowhere.

  27. Pick laundry up off of the floor so the cat won’t pee on it during the night and shut the door to my younger son’s door so she can’t pee in his legos.

  28. Fret.

  29. Stuff myself with Cheese-Its and fall asleep with Everyone Loves Raymond in the background. Then wake up at 3 and go to bed.

  30. I do one New Yorker jigsaw puzzle on my laptop, close it up and head for bed. The tv is usually on with some 1950s western my husband watched before he fell asleep. With the sounds of horses hooves in the background, my booklight casts a cocoon of light around me and I climb into the novel of the night for awhile. Then lights out and I’m asleep before I can count to ten.

  31. Arriving late to the discussion, I’m now hoping this will be tonight’s path: no 11PM calls from clients; two weary dogs that are disinterested in exploring the back yard after 11:30PM; reading a few chapters of a yet-to-be-decided book and a mental “goodnight” to those I love who are so far away.

  32. Reading this post and the comments made me happy/ashamed like when I drive by houses at night and can see in the lit up windows.

    Before I fall asleep, I set the TV timer because we watch a Foyle’s War or Midsomer Murder dvd every night. I flip my pillow over for the cool side and put my hand on my husband’s back because my parents took away my security blanket when I was three.

    • You know, don’t you, that some people purposefully keep their windows uncovered to passively display the opulent excess they have accumulated? It’s a free, mini house tour! (so long as the neighborhood patrol guard doesn’t confront you).

      • In Evanston, IL where I used to take the best night time drives, I can believe that. Such gorgeous houses. Now we live in a neighborhood where people never open their blinds. And I think I’m glad for that.

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