it’s a recurring theme. and variations. sleep. no sleep. partial sleep. disturbed sleep. sleep with snoring. sleep sans snoring.
i don’t remember having this problem earlier in my life. it’s not like i wasn’t worrying about things then, so i don’t know what the difference is. other than menopause. and hormones. and…ummm…aging. a fun trilogy.
we try to have good conversation in the wee hours. we generally have a banana (somewhere we read that bananas are sleep-inducing plus they are easy snacks in the middle of the night.) if we are still starving, we have been known to get up and make pancakes. having mid-night pancakes always sounds better than actually making pancakes in the middle of the night – tired and a little ornery from not sleeping. but once they are made, it’s pretty dreamy to indulge in a few maple-syrup laden pancakes at 3am.
david doesn’t really have trouble sleeping. his troubles come from my trouble. he is a generous sleep-giver-upper on those nights, for which i am grateful. he mustn’t have the trilogy, the whole trilogy and nothing but the trilogy. plus, somehow or other, he places all angsting to the side when he lays his head down. he just goes to sleep.
they were perfect little travelers when they were little – my children – seasoned roadtrippers happy-as-clams as long as there were snacks.
not unlike the kiddos, we simply cannot get from point a to point b without snacks. roadtrips are synonymous with non-stop grazing, all bets off, things we don’t usually eat at home. though i’d like to say it’s all about trail mix and flax seed bars, the reality is that twizzlers and munchos and peanut m&ms sometimes make their way into the bags easily accessible from the front seat. carrots and grapes and cut-up apples and water bottles are in the cooler. and coffee. there’s always coffee. hydroflasks filled at home followed by cardboard starbucks cups of the boldest pour. back in the non-gluten-free days there would be those amazing lemon loaf slices too – the ones with the slightest schmear of frosting. and we’d bring along schmearless plain panera bagels, just to chew on. yes, yes, we know how to rock the highways.
lately, we’ve tried to be more – conscious – of our choices, tried to eat healthy snacks – even in the car – more kind bars, less pringles, more gf granola bites, fewer hostess cupcakes.
but then there’s david. trying to be all healthy-like, waxing poetic about the glorious bags and coolers full of nutritious, wholesome foods, robustly clapping at our roadtrip fare.
he’s all-in, a clean-snacks, upbeat good-food-eater until…that toddler-award-winning-tizzy-moment he completely loses it when he realizes that, indeed, we have not included peanut m&ms.
*using an apostrophe in a non-possessive plural really gets my inner-grammar-nerd going, so much research went into whether there is an apostrophe referring to the plural of these candies. since m & m are names and the candy is actually called “m&m’s”, i decided to go with the apostrophe referring to the complete name, but not without cringing at the use of an apostrophe sort of doubling as a plural. ugh. blame my sweet momma. 😉
they are addictive, particularly on the road. we will be innocently driving along and, suddenly, one of us mentions munchos, those doggone salty dehydrated potato chips, and we are instantly on a quest. maybe it’s the ferrous sulfate, niacin, thiamin mononitrate and riboflavin, but i’d prefer to think that it’s all about the “light-tasting crispy snack” that’s not greasy like other chips. there are 160 calories in about a quarter of the bag, so that’s a significant snack and salt-fix when you need it without a vast amount of guilt, despite the fact that it would take 45 minutes of walking to burn off those 160 calories. like teenagers and skittles, when we need it, we are singularly focused. we have driven in and out of mini-marts and convenience stores and service areas looking for munchos, sometimes to no avail, leading to desperation. i wonder what the looks on our faces say. i’m guessing they belie the calmness we are trying to exude.
our dogdog is food-driven. we laugh about it all the time. he will do most anything for a treat, learn any new trick for a tiny snack. i bet he snickers at us from the back seat watching us on our munchos-hunt.
in a high mountain town this wall was full. chalk layered upon chalk, there was no space left for even a word or two. we stood for a few minutes and started to read it. we were touched. it was obvious that, given the chance, people will share what they are grateful for, will express their gratitude, will put it out there in public. grateful begets grateful.
we had spent time with family, time in high elevation, time on the trail. we had eaten good meals together and we had cried together. we had sipped wine out of yetis, ate halos on a big downed tree, sat in front of a roaring fire on a chilly night. we had lingered at the lake and had found a new bundle of prayer flags to bring home with us. we were grateful. and we were exhausted.
the path home this week was long across the great plains. we snacked our way across, from giant bags of every snack you can imagine dropped at our doorstep before we left from jen and brad. we said a teary goodbye to the mountains – waving to the last vestige of very-distant pike’s peak – and then passed through brown barren land and acres of dried cornfields and rolling farms. we reviewed our time spent. we were quiet. we relished double espressos at a surprise starbucks. and we arrived home to a delicious meal prepared by our 20.
we should all have a grateful wall. i’m thinking we should take the blackboard we had at our wedding, six years ago now, and install it in the house somewhere.
in short order it would be filled, layer upon layer of colored sidewalk chalk, layer upon layer of gratitude, a reminder to – no matter what – stay there.
we adore roadtrips. they are excuses for meandering thoughts, quiet appreciation of landscape, coffeehouse exploration, ridiculous amounts of snack foods. we are guilty of eating our way across the country and we have no established rules for that. all bets are off and we have joyfully entered gas station and service area mini-marts nationwide looking for anything and everything that will refill our snack-coffers and amuse our palates. gourmet or down-and-dirty salty chips – it does not matter. the one consistent partner for me, the sidekick – as hershey’s calls it – though, is twizzlers.
twizzlers are age-appropriate no matter your age. happy candy with amazing roadtrip powers, with a presence in every state or country we have traveled, i’m thinking the hershey folks should sponsor us. yes, in their own words, i’d suggest they “chew on it!”
there are many days that we are a bit anxious for snack-time. we work on projects and check the clock, clean the house and check the clock, feed dogdog and check the clock. happy hour is a must and snack-time accompanies it. much like toddlers, we love snack-time.
right now i am thinking that late july chips might want to sponsor smack-dab, as we are dedicated to their organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, chia, quinoa, millet, amaranth and flax tortilla chips. with hummus, with salsa, in chorus with kalamata olives or maybe those tiny sweet pickles or even pickled beets that make me think of my sweet momma. there is nothing like a circa 1940s cut-glass crystal bowl filled to the rim with chips and a couple of wine glasses with our tried-and-true apothic red blend or bogle’s old vine zin. (more sponsors! we are not proud.)
there are moments – mostly the ones when i look in the mirror – when i wonder if we are eating too many chips. one has to ponder who really sticks to the serving size. i suppose a little will power would go a long way.
but i’m thinking that the up-north gang and jen and brad and 20 would all poo-poo that. “who needs will power?” they’d all say. “happy-hour-snack-time is non-negotiable!”
nevertheless, excused or guilty, we have a way of justifying snack-time. we figure at least we aren’t gorging on hostess cupcakes – you know, the chocolate ones with white filling and chocolate frosting on top with a little white swirly. at least these tortilla chips are contributing to our good health.
we haven’t just dreamed at the rest area. we have out and out drooled at the rest area. faces planted against the window, pillow smushed between forehead and glass, i’m sure we’ve been a spectacle.
one time we pulled into a rest area in iowa when it was still dark. we chose a spot close to the building. we just needed a few minutes to close our eyes. when we woke up, the sun was up, the rest area was full of people coming and going and our bodies were stiff from a shocking three hours of rest-area-sleeping. barely able to move, i slowly unfurled from my up-close-and-personal relationship with the steering wheel and d attempted to bring his foot down from the dashboard. with plenty of square-car-glass making us visible – like a snowglobe scene without the snow – we were right in the line of vision of absolutely anyone who had stopped to use the facilities. our wrinkled faces and the fog on the windows next to our baked-sweet-potato-smushy-visages belied any other story except resting-at-the-rest-area. i’m sure we were charming to look at.
it is not without stopping at a few rest areas that little baby scion has 237,000 miles on it. our road warrior days are accompanied by snacks and punctuated by rest areas. it’s a roadtrip symphony of necessities.
when we were driving long distance just a few days ago we googled the approximate distance across the united states, which, surprisingly, is around 3000 miles. (kansas and pennsylvania and north dakota make it seem so much further, and, going the other way, so do georgia and indiana.) but i digress. so that means that the current mileage equates to having driven this little vehicle 79 times across the country.
we have visited rest areas in most states in this nation and we can tell you where the nice ones are, like the ones in ohio on i80. we can also tell you where the scary ones are: montana, a certain rest area down south where you drive about a mile off the road and a couple security guards watch you walk in and out of the building. you can get a free cup of coffee at the rest area on the eastern side of colorado and orange or grapefruit juice entering florida. you can get maps and brochures at most rest areas and the ones in indiana specialize in those magazines where you can find coupons for hotels you would rather not stay in. pennsylvania has full-service areas, as does one little spot in kansas. you can “eat and get gas” as they say, the word-smithing on that not expected to be classy. you are reminded that this is a rest area, after all.
the rest area on the way home from on-island is always a stopping ground these days. for various reasons we won’t list, the little blue sign on the side of the road is a welcome sight and we eagerly pull into a spot. recently, after packing for hours and then leaving, we leaned back and closed our eyes at this wayside. full-out dreaming commenced. when we woke, which wasn’t too long after, we shared notes and our surprise about falling asleep in a matter of minutes. d said, “if you can dream at the rest area, you’re supposed to be there.” yup. i bet all kinds of safety engineers would agree with that.
it was in iowa again – this state must make us tired – just a few days ago on a trip when we traveled 24 hours in a 36 hour period of time. having sampled (read: gorged on) the whole buffet of snacks, i was driving, desperately seeking the little blue sign, pining for the chance to close my eyes.
alas, finally. the rest area. we pulled in. d handed me a pillow. i laid my face against the window. and voila! a sight to behold.