the magic of the 12-minute nap

After two weeks of testing and timing, I have discovered that I can take a 12-minute nap and feel sufficiently rested enough to continue working.  There are a couple of disclaimers:

  • This failed miserably yesterday. I suppose it loses its effect when you try to use it 11 days in a row.
  • My naps usually occur at 7:00 p.m. so that I can continue working into the evening. If I were not me, I wouldn’t suggest that this is a good idea at all.
  • The true victory in all of this for me is in my ability to meditate. I have used a method of five stages that I have stretched into seven. To accomplish these 12-minute naps, I have found that I can skip all the way to Stage 7, which is a complete clearing of the mind. I’m proud of myself that I can do this because my mind operates at hyper-speed all day. So, to shut it off so that I can fall asleep, sleep and wake up rested in a 12-minute period is pretty awesome. But, it also took me about six years to be able to successfully do Stage 7 at the end of the entire meditation.

All of that being said, this 12-minute nap business is a whole lot more economical than the hour and a half naps that I used to take last year.

Random Thoughts Because I Should Have Been Asleep 1 Hour & 51 Minutes Ago

I genuinely dislike the Los Lobos’ “Colossal Head” album.

Even worse, it bugs the daylights out of me that I hate it so much.

Today, this random guy told me that he went 9 months without cooking at home. The universe had to know that I would take that as a personal challenge. I’m on week 3.

Every now and again, I’ll meet someone and be blown away by the energy their soul. Today was the first time I really realized that I have the capacity to do that to other people.

That whole switch-blade saga from when I turned 18 suddenly made a whole lot of sense when I remembered something today.

I’m going to cheer for Manny this season. Purely for mockery and ridicule purposes.

I just calculated that if you meet me in a bar, you have a 1 in 920,000 of getting my phone number.

I think my cat can see ghosts.

Three nights ago I told myself that I should go to bed at 10. I didn’t fall asleep until 12:15. The next night, I decided 9 and failed again. So I decided to stop with the foolish bedtimes that are only going to be decimated by Jamaica Kincaid or manuals on writing.

A Lesson Learned

Anyone who knows me really well could tell you that my outward appearance of organization is somewhat a facade. I rarely know what day it is. It’s even more rare that I can tell you what I’m doing two days from now.

This causes an interesting situation where I tend to overbook myself, to agree to things without really knowing what’s going on the day before or the day after, and to forget how many days it’s been since I’ve really rested.


It’s been 27 days since I’ve spent a day being lazy. I went into teaching in a summer program the week before we participated in our first bridal show. The following weekend we took the train to Santa Barbara, I went with my brothers to San Diego, and then spent a really long day in the sun wandering downtown. The weekend after that, Tanaya and I spent a long day of work and walking around, and followed it with an epic hike along the coast.

Sprinkled within the weeks of those adventures have been baseball games, dinners out, movies, hanging out with various people, and running errand after errand.

So, it’s no small wonder that at the completion of day 26, I wasn’t feeling so great. Simple tiredness, I told myself and sent myself to bed semi-early only to find that waking up yesterday was a horrific chore. Yet, I still pushed on. I had a fabulous day marred only slightly by the physical pain I was in.

Onto the 28th day (t0day) to find that waking up was beyond a horrific chore this morning. I didn’t even bother forcing myself out of bed until after 11. And at that point, I ran one quick errand and came home to sleep some more.

It’s funny because I feared that my exhaustion was due to the fact that I’m getting old. Oh, silly me.

Instead, I have learned a valuable lesson (again) about the necessity of slowing down or at least taking a break every 14 days or so.

And I laugh even as I write that because it wasn’t the first time, and probably won’t be the last.


-It was nice to read this  morning that Shawn Estes had been cut from the major league roster.

-Me taking joy in Estes being cut does not make me a mean person. Just one who doesn’t forget.

-It was not so nice to read that Chad Billingsley had suffered a groin injury. Argh! That cannot be good.

-I feel kind of “off” right now physically.

-I love that Desperate Housewives is online for free.

-I need to start reading again. I’ve totally blown the 52 books in 52 weeks plan.

-Tanaya and I redid our website for the millionth time (ok not millionth, but it feels that way). I wonder how long we’ll like this version.

-I don’t get why people are mean. I really don’t. It’s tiring.

-I’m happy with the way my first wave of spring cleaning went. I love the space in my living room now.

-I want to paaaaint!

-Going back to teaching is simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

-I have a very strong desire to see stars in the desert sky.

-We devised this plan to circumvent paying the $15 parking fee at Dodger Stadium. It mostly involves Manny Ramirez and his car.

-I appreciate responses to job inquiries.

-I need to stop doing searches on the Century 21 website.

-The pastrami and jalapeno sandwich at the Yardhouse is positively amazing and well worth the gallon of grease I probably consumed.

-I’m on a super high caffeine intake plan right now and still sleepy as heck.

-I can’t wait until the sun is rising at 6 a.m.

-I’m a sneezy mess right now thanks to the wind, but I love the clear days so it’s a pretty fair trade.

-I found out that there’s a “Mary” at the Alameda post office, which is my home one. “Mary” at the Boyle Heights post office is one of my favorite people on the planet.

-I’m excited to get actual prints from Shutterfly.

-I’ve become a little addicted to stretching.

-I have realized that I jaywalk in front of the Hollenbeck police station far too much. It’s a wonder I haven’t been cited.

-I like Chris Matthews a lot more now that the election is over.

-I have a huge desire to get on an airplane and go somewhere. Like now.

-I don’t like falling asleep when I’m cold.

-I’m ready for something electric. Like electric blue.

And then sleep.

What a nutty week!

I suppose that’s what happens when you’re ghost-chairing a fundraising dinner for 500. It’s so funny to me that these dinner have “chairs” whose name goes on the pretty little invitation, but somewhere deep in the background is a person like me who is juggling about 1200 balls in the air and pinning down every minute detail, all while trying to smile at every turn.

In addition to designing the invites, I probably hand-stuffed, stamped, sealed and addressed 800 of the 1700 we sent out this week. Thank God, for Alma and her ever so patient help!

Then, I spent almost two full days on the phone trying to sell program ads and sponsorships with pretty good success, if I do say so myself. All the while, I’m trying to arrange parking, security, insurance certificates, deposits, and itty bitty details like the size of the centerpiece vases and whether or not there should be a slide show.

To add to the insanity, I also have the privilege of designing and laying out the program.

You would think all that would be enough work for one person for one week, but sadly it was not. Youth council meetings, staff meetings and the umpteenth tour of Homeboy Industries were sprinkled throughout the week. I also got to present financial aid info to parents on Tuesday night and helped to umm “chaperone” a potluck dinner with 60 teenagers.

Somewhere in there, I managed to draft a very very rough draft of a grant application and send out a series of mass emails about the aforementioned dinner and board meetings.

All of that just for my day job. I spent three hours in a coffee shop on Wednesday night writing both for fun, I suppose you could call it, and for 643Ink. Plus, I running 2 miles three days this week and managing to sneak in grocery shopping yesterday.

So, it’s no wonder that I arrived home today with the full intention of getting in some NCAA basketball and instead slept for about an hour and a half.

I realized today that I haven’t spent a full day at home in 27 days. That’s pretty frightening. Not to say all of that has been work because some of it has been definitely fun. It’s just my apartment is showing the signs of very little care.

I had planned to try to take in the World Baseball Classic tomorrow evening, and that may still happen. But, I’m thinking that if tickets prices don’t dip enough, I might just be perfectly content with a game of Monopoly and a thorough cleaning of my apartment.

Maybe a walk.

And then sleep.

A Societal Issue?

Two years ago when I was in grad school, I thought that would be the one time in my life when I slept four hours a night and drank ridiculous amounts of caffeine. I figured that was paying my dues, and that life would magically get easy once I had a degree in hand.

At that time, I also thought I was the only insane one. There were a few people in my classes who had full-time jobs, and I genuinely envied the even greater majority of those who were full-time students with somewhat more forgiving part-time jobs.

Now, I’m starting to think that my generation is just being pulled in two very strong directions. We have been raised to work and work and work, but at the same time we’re still grasping onto other interests. I now know five or six people who operate in the same frenetic way that I do. Sleep is scarce. Yet, we continue. And we add more and more to our plates, things that we say we enjoy. I have “coffee friends” people who will drink caffeine all the way up to 8 p.m. with me. Heck, I hung out in a coffee house with a good friend until midnight one night.

I do get an adrenaline rush out of it. It’s almost like an extreme sport to see how little you can sleep and still function.

But then I look over to other friends and I think maybe it would be nice to have a little stability. To sleep 8 hours a night (heck, to sleep 6 hours every night!). To have a decent meal at home every night.

Until this moment, I hadn’t realized the difference. They have all pretty much decided on their direction. They have jobs they will probably have their entire lives. They’re married—every last one of them. A couple of them have kids. That takes me back to my dad’s advice about work: once you have a family it won’t seem that important.

I suppose that’s very, very true. With no one to answer to but yourself, why not create a frenetic schedule that has you see daylight in your home for about 2 hours a week. Why not eat dinner in a coffee shop and discuss politics in a bar on a Tuesday night. There’s nothing that says you can’t.

It’s like this complex of always wanting more, more, more. And truthfully, it’s kind of fun.