On Restlessness: Mind, Body, Credit Card.

I’ve been feeling restless these day, my friends. Restless, fitful, fretful, unsettled, unquiet. And, as a result, I’ve been quoting in my head remembered bits from Dorothy Livesay poems. “The woman I am is not what you see…” and so on. Lines from Dorothy Livesay’s poem “The Unquiet Bed.” “The woman I am/ is not what you see/ I’m not just bones/and crockery.”

Maybe you haven’t heard of the Canadian poet Dorothy Livesay. I remember discovering her for the first time in university. And falling in love with her work. Born before World War I, already writing and publishing her poems in the twenties and thirties, Livesay was, by my definition, old when I read her for the first time in the mid-seventies. What could she, this spinster-ish-looking, old woman, have to say to me? Ha. A lot, as it turned out. What a shallow, closed mind the young sometimes have, eh?

At first glance, Livesay seemed nothing like a rebel poet. But she was, writing lines which strained at the bonds that tied women to the kitchen and the marriage bed. She raged against middle age, and old age, at society’s view of the woman in her mirror, seeing only the folds and wrinkles, and not the woman behind them. She was an unassuming subversive, in many ways “woke” before the word meant what it has come to mean today. And a woman who wrote about ideas which inspired me, at age twenty. A silly girl, who had been up to then mostly concerned with how to get good marks and what to wear to the pub on Friday night.

Livesay’s lines came to me this week because of that word “unquiet” in the title of her poem. My feelings of unquiet, of restlessness have nothing to do with my marriage. But more to do with age, with life, and with how the hell to get a good night’s sleep.

green towels on the clothesline blowing in the breeze
Laundry lullabies this morning.

In a literal sense my bed has been “unquiet” because, for the past few weeks, I have been plagued with the worst case of restless legs I’ve ever had. Restless leg syndrome is nothing new for me. Usually it’s mildly annoying, uncomfortable, and easily alleviated by getting up and doing some leg stretches, walking around for a few minutes, and then going back to bed. But lately things have been much worse. So I’ve been reading about the problem, talking to my doctor, and trying numerous remedies that I won’t bore you with today. So there’s that. Restlessness in a very literal, physical sense.

And maybe as a result of that particular form of restlessness, I’ve been plagued with other forms. As I said, I’ve been fitful, fretful, unsettled, cranky. The crankiness is probably caused by sleep deprivation. I rarely suffer from a problem with sleep. Except for the usual jetlag when we’re travelling and the summer I had shingles, I fall asleep easily and stay that way. In fact I have been known to fall asleep in very odd places.

Like one summer when Hubby and I were brook-trout fishing. An activity which involves lots of walking along the banks of heavily treed streams, stepping over windfalls, beating a path through thickets of alder bushes, and wading upstream in the swift current trying to stay upright. It can be exhausting, and so on that particular day when Hubby said he just wanted to try one more pool around a bend in the stream, I stayed where I was and waited for him. There was no place to sit, so I leaned back, balancing myself against a very thick bunch of bushes and small saplings. Have you ever done that? The trees bent slightly, but took my weight, and they bounced up and down so gently in the afternoon sunshine, that when Hubby came back around the bend in the stream I was sound asleep. Standing up. I’m serious.

Last night was a very restless night. And today I’m so sleepy that as I stood on our back doorstep this morning, hanging laundry on the clothesline, watching the towels waft back and forth in the breeze off the water, listening to the distant, rhythmic hammering from across the river, and nothing else, I could have fallen asleep right then and there. Face-first into the towels. Ha. But I didn’t.

So restless legs, and the ensuing sleeplessness makes me feel as if I’m walking around in a fog these days. More of a fog than usual. Plus it’s August, which has never been my favourite month. Mostly because it’s the month before school starts, and around this time a switch is thrown in my brain, and I start having school dreams. If you’re not a teacher you’ll not have heard about school dreams. Most of us have them. Disquieting dreams of huge unruly classes, lessons not prepped, a classroom that cannot be found, field trips that go disastrously awry. You get the picture. Despite having been retired for eight years, I still get school dreams when I’m anxious about something.

When I was still teaching, August felt like a waiting month, as if I were sitting twiddling my thumbs waiting to get back to real life. Retirement did not change that. In August I feel a need to get on with things. Get a move on. This upcoming week, I’ll be packing for our long-awaited trip down east. Maybe that’s why I feel anxious.

But it’s not only that. Change is coming. In September I have to find a new host, and tech support team, for my blog. That’s kind of niggling away at me. I’ve been doing my research, but I decided to put off making the decision until the fall. Mum and I will be meeting with a social worker when Hubby and I are home. She has some decisions to make. And that will trigger decisions that the rest of us will have to make. As I said, changes… and decisions.

Can these new black Birkenstock-style sandals from Brown's Shoes help my restless mind?
My new impulse buy. Well, sort of impulse buy.

I went shopping the other day. To buy slippers, yes, slippers. And face cream, and hair conditioner. All necessary purchases. But it seems my shopping muscle needed more flexing. My credit card was feeling restless, maybe. And as I passed Brown’s Shoes in Bayshore Shopping Centre in the west end of Ottawa, I couldn’t resist going in for a look at their sale. Shoes, particularly sandals, have always been a problem for me. Only certain styles fit my really narrow foot. And chunky sandals never, ever fit me. I once spent an hour in a specialty shoe store where the sales person was determined she could find me a pair of Birkenstocks (or a similar brand) to fit my foot. Ha. She failed. Although my friend Susan bought some lovely sandals from her.

So at Bayshore the other day, I saw a pair of knock-offs of the infamous and ridiculously expensive Chanel “dad” sandals, beloved by fashion vloggers including Emma Hill. Maybe with all those Velcro straps they might fit. They did. But oh my lord… did they look ridiculous on my skinny foot! And when I moaned about how I’ve always wanted a pair of Birkenstocks, or something similar, the salesgirl returned with these lovely things. (similar) She ratcheted the straps to almost the last hole, refastened the buckle, and told me that the Brown’s store brand are much narrower than the original. I tried them on. Voila. They fit and I love them. Despite the fact that they don’t really flatter my foot, I still love them.

This shopping story has little to do with restlessness, I know. But just thinking about those new sandals makes me smile. So maybe my impromptu purchase, my impulse buy, has helped my restless mental state. Except, can we really call it an impulse buy if I’ve been looking off and on for years for something similar? Let’s call it shopping kismet instead.

new black patent sandals from Brown's Shoes in Bayshore Shopping Centre.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that shopping can cure all my ills. Or any of my ills, really. Except for those of the wardrobe kind. I’m still sleepless. Still restless and slightly agitated. I still have some decisions on the horizon that make me anxious. But I do feel all smiley when I let my mind wander to the possible outfit combinations I can conjure up around those new sandals. How they will update some of my looks, make me feel a bit more current.

I mean, I’d like my outside to reflect my inside. I know my outside is older, with white hair, now, and wrinkles. But I’m still alive and kicking. Still current and, I hope, relevant. I don’t want to have to shout: “the woman I am is not what you see.” But I guess that all depends on what people see when they look at me. At any of us who have seen fifty or more summers come and go. The whole idea of fighting that particular stereotype makes me angry. Fretful. Pissed off. Shouty. Unquiet, in a whole other sense.

And I know a new pair of sandals can’t help that. But it sure can’t hurt, eh?

How are you doing these days my friends? Do the dog days of August make you restless?


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From the archives


Are You Wearing Shorts This Summer?

I’m trying to decide if I can give my city shorts one more season. Or if I should consign them to the donate pile. And I’m waffling.


And Just Like That… Fall

I awoke the other day, and just like that, it was fall. It’s taken me somewhat unawares. So I’m planning some emergency transitional outfits.


Kindred Spirits and Books

Kindred spirits are friends who always understand us, even when we differ. And for me many of my kindred spirits share my love of reading.

91 thoughts on “On Restlessness: Mind, Body, Credit Card.”

  1. August makes me feel restless too, even though I’ve never been a teacher. But I’ve always felt like September is the beginning of the year for me, and not January. I get the sense of wanting to start something new each fall. Perhaps it’s because I’ve spent so many formative years starting school in September that feeling will be with me forever. Who knows?

  2. Wendy from York

    Oh I know what you mean & I’m older than you . The way I am is definitely not what you see . I’m trying to steer a middle course between accepting my limitations & giving up all together but it’s not easy . I’m not going to be striding up those big hills again but I don’t have to slump on the sofa .
    Then there’s the saying ‘ there’s life in the old dog yet ‘ . We’re away in a quiet little corner of the Scottish Borders just now . Yesterday we followed a very old sunken footpath across the fields which was used to carry the fishing catch in baskets ( creels ) from the coast up to the village for a thousand years , fancy a thousand ! We dropped down into the pretty little harbour for coffee & cakes in the sunshine where the seagulls were annoying everyone in the cafe by demanding food . Our Rory dog is getting on now & didn’t make a fuss but I could see him glaring at them . When we got up to leave he did a swift dummy left then right & cleared them all . There was laughter & applause & a local lifeboat man said he wanted to buy him . Rory had a very waggy tail after that . Perhaps that made you smile along with those snazzy sandals .

    1. Wendy, that was a lovely anecdote and I don’t know about Sue but it certainly made me smile!

    2. Oh my goodness… that is the best story Wendy. That Rory, what a character. I am envious of your ability to get away to charming little places. That path to the harbour sounds like our kind of walk. Where in the borders were you staying, Stu asks. So he can look it up on a map.

      1. Our rented cottage is near St Abbs head . The nearest village is Coldingham , a very old place & the little fishing village is St Abbs . There’s a beach nearby called Coldingham which has little painted beach huts & surfers . A coastal footpath runs right by the sea for miles & it’s nice to dip on & off it on circular walks . Depending on the weather though – awful this afternoon . The nearest biggish town , Berwick Upon Tweed , is actually in England . My Scottish dad was born there & it’s lovely .
        PS The only time I get RLS is if I drink ground coffee after midday but you’re a tea drinker so that’s not it .

  3. Yes. I have never cared for August – things start to look tired and hot and raggedy, weather changeable – and have determined not to let my usual negativity cloud this month this year. Rain already doing that. Re the dreams – oh yes, indeedy. And they have been increased a hundredfold since the pandemic began – constantly on a residential trip that goes wrong, being forced back into teaching unprepared, trying to organise everything and everyone – no doubt as a reaction to this once-in-a-species event. It can make sleeping a bit difficult but I now just go with it and sleep in the afternoon to make up for it. I figure that as long as I get about 7 hours in 24, it will work out fine. As for restless legs…lifelong for me. When I was pregnant, I even got restless head. That was extremely annoying. No part of me was comfortable. Being a human is peculiar.

    1. Down east where we used to rent a cottage every August, we’d start wearing sweaters come August 15th. Summer was effectively over. And I would start champing at the bit to get home and start prepping lessons and such.

  4. my daughter suffers from restless legs and so do her aunts on her fathers side.. they all use magnesium oil sprayed on their feet just before bed. the other faintly weird thing which they say works is to put a fresh dry bar of soap under your sheet at the end of the bed.. i know it sounds weird but they say it works.

    1. Leslie in Seattle

      I spray my feet and lower legs with magnesium oil. It helps with my restless legs and relaxes me enough to help with sleep. Can’t recommend it enough. Just don’t use it the same day you shave your legs…trust me.

  5. Glad you are back-restless or not! When I get anxious as you have described,I dream about my husband and me buying our first house again.Back to normal-whatever that was! when life and times were more simple-no children,no big responsibilities,etc. No aging parents to deal with-now I am in that category. New sandals can’t fix it this time! I remember when they made shoes in narrow widths and in half sizes-alas no more! So I put silicon pads in the heels of my shoes and hope I won’t fall! Hope your trip to your Moms goes well. Our daughter is coming in Tues to”help Mom”. will enjoy seeing her, but secretly wish she had stayed home.Reading the new Silva novel The Cellist-good read,typical but good.Always nice to revisit fictional people again. Stay safe,September will be here soon.,

    1. I haven’t seen narrow width shoes in decades. Are people’s feet wider now? Or do we just accept that shoes won’t fit properly? You are my second suggestion for The Cellist.

      1. i love daniel silva and have just bought the cellist. its next after the peter james book i am reading

  6. August,,,,the end of summer. It usually is the hottest month of summer here and it certainly has been a hot summer so far. I usually look forward to the change of season as I love fall! This year I am dreading it because of the predicted upside of Covid cases and possibly being isolated again. I agree that shopping cannot cure all ills but it certainly helps to some degree when you finally score an item you gave been looking for. Good for you on buying the sandals! They look nice and. Ery comfortable. I feel that way about dresses this year… I am looking for that one magical swish dress that I can twirl in and be cool! Ah the hunt is real! Best

    1. I’ve tried magnesium glycinate as recommended by my pharmacist sister. It worked a treat, but my digestive system can’t tolerate it. I didn’t dare leave the house for days. 🙂

    1. I find if I get up and take a Tylenol and a trip to pee one more time it often stops my restless legs.

  7. I have very narrow feet and I have tried to find Birkenstock’s too! I think those black sandals look great on your pretty feet. I can’t find any sandals that will stay on my feet except flip flops. I also have restless legs and take prescription gabopentin for it. It works but I would love to find something besides medication. Have fun on your trip!!

    1. I think I took that drug (or something similar) for my pain during shingles. Since I can’t take the magnesium supplements, I may try the spray that some people have mentioned.

  8. I have stage dreams, which I’ve been having frequently. Of being undressed on stage (or on camera, which was last night’s dream – that I was doing a FB live for my teaching studio but I was naked), of being in a show where I don’t know my lines, or I know lines for a different show…. and I remember having restaurant dreams in college, when I was a waitress. Teacher dreams …. not so much.

    I don’t have RLS, but I do have terrible leg cramps that wake me up, and I’ve had them all my life, not just as I’ve gotten older. They’ve been worse lately – which might be because I’ve gained a little weight in the last few months (after losing 25# in 2019 and keeping almost all of it off during lockdown, I suddenly gained 10# in a month as soon as things opened up again – and I have no idea why). Weight could be a factor, or it could be blood flow. I didn’t find out till my dad was in a nursing home in 2008 that he’d had vascular surgery back in the 1950s – kind of an important part of family medical history that we might have wanted to know about, don’t you think?

    1. I used to suffer from terrible leg cramps as a kid and teenager. That’s why it took me so long to realize what the restless legs were. I just thought I needed to stretch my muscles. I have started having dreams that I am forced to go back to work…sometimes teaching, and sometimes to the awful jobs I worked as a teenager. Including hulling strawberries on an assembly line and waitressing. I was a terrible waitress!!

  9. Perhaps it is the dog days of August, I thought I was just worn out from all the humidity lately. It just zaps my desire to do much. Maybe with reading the comments, the restless leg is something that hits at a certain time in life. I find that getting up for a walk, and a warm bean bag when I get back into bed helps enough to get back to sleep for a while. I have upped the magnesium as well as added another calcium gummie to the mix. I do enjoy the snippets from Wendy, and Rory is a hero. The anxiety of decisions regarding your mom will certainly be weighing on you, and hopefully after spending time with her the decisions will be easier. Oh, the hugs will feel so special and needed.

    1. Wendy can tell a good yarn, that’s for sure. We must get her back for another guest post, I think. I’ve upped my calcium as well. I was getting very lax about that.

  10. Nothing like the eyes popping open at 4am and the brain engaging like a maniacal carnival barker. It seems to take evil pleasure in reminding me of every concern, and even ramping up benign thoughts to feel like concerns. 4am is a brutal gauntlet. I see it more often as I get older, and mostly make it through by focusing on my breath or reading for a bit. Drifting back to sleep is sweet luxury. And shoes of course. Definitely shoes.

  11. I’ve been toying with the idea of a pair of Birks, and this post just put it over the top. I’d like something like yours (exactly like yours) and since I know which shop in town carries a good variety, I’m on my way… Thanks for the inspiration.

    Sorry about the sleep woes – I just to be a fabulous sleeper, and since menopause, not so much. To the point when I do have a good night’s sleep, I feel like dancing around like a demented Snow White.

  12. I really like your new sandals on you! My challenge is the opposite of yours. I have very wide feet. To celebrate our move to a small coastal town two years ago, I determined to join the local beach style and find a pair of Arizona Birkenstock’s. Gee whiz…the wide straps made my wide foot look ridiculous! Not all was lost, I found a Birkenstock Mayari style in a pale, metallic rose gold which worked for me. It took a while to break them in but now I can traipse around in them all day and totally enjoy them.
    I join you in not getting a good night’s sleep. I’ve now entered my eleventh year of retirement from teaching high school biology. The siren call of new school supplies and new work outfits has faded. What leads to interrupted sleep is my husband’s health issues and challenges. He doesn’t sleep well so either do I. It helps immensely that we live in a beautiful setting near our son’s family. This past week, after an impromptu family dinner, we jumped into the car for a seven minute drive to watch the grandsons surf as the sun set. It was an evening of pure contentment, delight, and thankfulness.
    Hoping that your decisions and your travels to visit your mom go smoothly. May your sleep and RLS improve. I so enjoy your sharing and your expressive words. Thank you, Sue.

  13. Lianne MacGregor

    I, too, have a terrible time with RLS. Horrible. My doctor is currently trying me on a low dose of Gabapentin and it’s working. In fact I can’t believe how much better I’m feeling – in every way (no doubt because my legs are no longer keeping me awake). Last night my husband and I watched an ENTIRE movie and I had 9 hours of sleep. Neither of these things would have been possible just a week ago.
    Love the sandals!

  14. August is a dreaded month for teachers. However, for me, the dread started on July 1st because June always flew by with in-service and just trying to unwind. I am also retired eight years from the classroom but it all comes flooding back when the calendar flips to August and school info hits the media. Texas schools begin the second or third week of the month which makes for a short summer vacation.

  15. I too have narrow feet and very high arches. The shoe industry has all but forgotten us. Meh to them!! Love your new sandals. They don’t solve any ills, only distract us from them for a while, and that’s fine. I’m determined to try some Birkenstocks (my daughter lives in them), and I understand they do make narrow sizes. For the moment I’m spending every waking moment in white leather sneakers. Thank goodness for that look coming around again!
    I was once a phenomenal sleeper, but now, once nature calls (anywhere from 1:00 to 4:00 a.m.), my “monkey brain” kicks in. Too many evils of the world to ponder, I reckon. Every few nights, I’m so exhausted I sleep straight through, a victory of sorts. As a former college thespian most of my “uh-oh!” dreams revolve around being naked on a stage or showing up to a performance knowing none of my lines.
    August, too, will pass. Thanks for the smiles!

  16. That’s a lot you have going on right now, what with your mom’s evolving situation — and just preparing for all the emotions sure to be stirred up by a visit “home” after such a long, forced absence. And I know the anxiety and sheer hours absorbed in trying to change a blog host, find reliable ongoing tech support. . . . I know nothing, luckily, of restless legs interfering with sleep. Instead, I get hands or whole arms that go so deeply to “sleep” that I wake myself up needing to bring them back to life. Usually have to smack them a bit (luckily, they don’t both go numb at the same time! ;-). . . then sometimes it will take a few seconds of shaking or flexing before they’re properly mobile again.
    Funny, those teaching anxiety dreams — I had my own last week, six years post-retirement. It incorporated the current Covid situation and was amusing to review when I woke, but stressful in my dreaming state. An American professor of literature, Elaine Showalter, has a whole chapter on those anxiety dreams in her book Teaching Literature. I was surprised and relieved when I first read it to find it was a widespread phenomenon — not just me, then! 😉
    (I have so much admiration for Livesay, especially her activism in the 30s on so many social and political fronts. )
    Finally — I absolutely agree that your purchase of those sandals qualifies as Shopping Kismet rather than as impulse shopping. But I had to chuckle remembering that you did this renaming/re-categorizing earlier when you coined the phrase “Anti-Haul Haul”! 😉

    1. I admire Elaine Showalter. I read some of her writing in a course I took years ago. And Livesay… she blew my shallow little mind when I was twenty. I’d always been a reader, but the poetry I’d studied up until university was all traditional stuff, lots of Wordsworth. Except for Alden Nowlan. Are you familiar with him? He was from Fredericton and my grade 11 English teacher gave us some of his poems. I still love them.

      1. Yes! Alden Nowlan’s work was in all the anthologies I taught from — at least until I retired, he had a firm place in the canon as “the people’s poet.” I read through his collected poems when reading for my comprehensive exams, and also through some of the critical responses and analyses of his work and one phrase struck me then and sticks with me now (although of course I’ve forgotten the source!) — he “wasn’t afraid to risk sentimentality.” Cool to have him as your hometown poet and that you had a teacher who made sure you knew his work. I’m sure you passed that along to your students (“The Bull Moose” perhaps?).

        1. Ha! I knew you would know the Bull Moose. I always envision the main drag in Fredericton when I read that poem. My older brother always said that Queen Street on Saturday night in the early sixties always had a string of cars parked up by the cool older teenagers.

  17. Hi Sue, sorry about your restless legs and your feet woes but must say I love your new shoes. Very current.
    Have been especially looking forward to Sunday these days to read your now weekly post. You do have a gift for writing and I enjoy all your topics. Fashion and books are probably my favorites. Hubbies food and recipes also. Ok, see you next Sunday. Have a great week!

  18. I must be living in your parallel universe! I’ve had a week of fitful sleep and a return of dreams related to my years of teaching an adult leadership class. I’ve been retired for nearly 10 years but still – obviously- haven’t shaken the stress of lining up speakers and designing experiential learning. Always deadlines and prickly personalities. Plus I bought a pair of black faux Birks just like yours at TJ. Maxx! I love the plastic pink ones I bought earlier this summer.
    I think some of my turmoil is also tied to hearing about several personal and business friends who have been diagnosed with serious illnesses recently or have died. Your mum’s situation weighs on you in a similar way. The pandemic has given us more time to reflect- some of that is good, but it’s also sad. As always, your blog is always insightful and reassuring. Thanks for keeping at it!

  19. I sympathize and empathize with your teacher dreams. I retired from the corporate world sixteen years ago after serious burnout and I still have nightmares about all-nighters to meet proposal deadlines. I bought a pair of Jeffrey Campbell sandals at Nordstrom’s sale that are very similar to yours – black patent with lots of shiny buckles and an added heel strap. Very butch for an old lady and I love them. Nothing picks us up like shiny new shoes. Boomerbroadcast.net

  20. Well I sympathize with all you’re going through. For me the restless month here in Southern California is September, the weather is hot and fall doesn’t come for another month. I have to say you you look absolutely fabulous. Your jacket, tee and pants are perfect and classic and your hair is perfectly casual too. But it’s the sandals that make the outfit. Any other sandals would be ordinary at best and old lady at worst. You look very cool and stylish without trying.

  21. Oh yeah! August brings those school thoughts right to the forefront of a teacher’s mind. I’m 13 years out from my retirement but August still makes me nostalgic for, if nothing else, at least my great classes of the past. A friend once remarked that summer was like a huge weekend…June is Friday night, July is Saturday, and there it is…August is the Sunday of the weekend. The fun is winding down and the workweek is looming right ahead.
    Love the sandals.

  22. Wow! Your blog certainly resonated with me today.
    My husband has very severe RLS and is on medication. My advice is don’t stop annoying the doctor until you get a good night’s sleep.
    And yes, as a former teacher and now a part time university professor, I always felt that August was the Sunday night of the summer. And always, lots of school dreams. And I was an art teacher!
    And I too have foot problems, burning feet which were initially diagnosed as neuropathy, then after nerve biopsy were diagnosed as referred back pain. The docs are still working on pain releif. In the meantime I’ve been wearing Birkenstocks summer and winter for the past year and a half. The pain is too much wearing shoes. I even went to a wedding, thankfully this summer, and wore my gold metallic birkenstocks!
    I hope you find relief from you RLS and get a good night’s sleep. With enough sleep you can do anything.
    Thank you for your blog. I love it.

  23. Oh no, back to work teacher dreams continue into retirement?!!! I am a firm believer that a cute pair of sandals can cure a mind funk. After this school year with “hybrid” classes, my drained brain was on a funk until mid July. Your recommendation of , “The Conscious Closet”, was very helpful with taming and refocusing my shopping funk. Now into August, and back to impending reality, I am looking to really work my wardrobe, and wear what I already own. Thank you very much for your wisdom and inspiration. Best of luck with your sleep and dreams.

    1. I can well imagine that after those hybrid classes you were totally drained, physically and emotionally. My friend said she taught to icons most of the time since senior students refused to turn their cameras on. Hope this upcoming year is better. I think books like The Conscious Closet can be really helpful. We don’t have to take them as prescriptive if we don’t choose to do so. I just like to read what works for others, and get inspiration.

  24. I am thinking that since so since many in our age bracket are dealing with some level of existential angst that it is likely fallout from the pandemic. It wouldn’t surprise me at all. Lots of time to think about our lives, what we have done or didn’t do, mortality etc. Old Socrates breathing down our backs with his ‘an unexamined life is not worth living’ thing. Maybe we are meant to be restless at this stage of our lives, to use this late afternoon of life to get ‘er done and what THAT is will be different for everyone. I was having those ‘restless’ thoughts myself…until two restless toddlers force me into the present. Nothing like raucous grandsons ( and another to round out the triumvirate due in October) to ground us. My father will be 96 in October and has announced that the Universe owes him a couple more turns around the sun due to the pandemic so he is planning his 100th birthday party!!! Talk about restless…
    We are also heading down east to PEI next week to check out our beach house and catch up with friends there and family in NB. Once I left school and started to work I perversely started to take vacation end of August ( my birthday) and early September…loved seeing all those cars heading home along the highways while we headed out to empty beaches, lower rates on hotels and ( usually) amazing weather. Too bad the days are shorter. Enjoy your visit with your Mom, you’ll feel so much better when you see her.
    I love those sandals I own far too many Birks Gizeh is my fave…haven’t been to Bayshore gosh …two years!?!? Live closer to Rideau Centre, will check out Browns IRL!

    1. I had planned to go to the Rideau Centre last week. But there and back is a major time commitment for me as far as driving goes. I was worried that on my first foray out to the shops I’d get exasperated after half an hour and decide to go home to read my book. Ha. Enjoy P.E.I. I hear you about all the traffic coming the other way. We travelled to P.E.I. for years on the ferry. And I remember the worry that we would miss the next ferry when we started to see cars streaming towards us. Now whenever we see a long line of closely packed cars all at once we laugh and say, the ferry’s in. 🙂

  25. Love your Livesay quote, thank you for the introduction. Sleep, what’s that…11 years and counting of menopausal hot flashes, haven’t slept through one yet…but such is life? Love your falling asleep fishing story. And shopping, if it helps, yes, yes,yes. After all these covid nightmares, which are not over yet, shopping is good therapy. Besides you got some cute sandals that fit and you’ll use for years. In my neck of the woods we are having a quilt fabric shop hop. I do not need any fabric, haven’t been able to sew the whole lockdown, too sad. But I went to a couple of shops today and will venture out to a couple more tomorrow. It feels good to get out and new fabric gives me inspiration. Again, upwards and onwards, it takes work to age, but no giving up. Hope you get a good sleep before your visit to your Mother.

    1. Dorothy Livesay was an amazing poet, IMO. I have been mercurial throughout the whole pandemic too, Heather. Maybe I should imagine I’m leaning into those softly rocking saplings when I go to bed. Ha.

  26. My dad had restless leg syndrome and it was not pleasant for him either. I’m a teacher, and our workdays start next week. August, is a strange month. You’re anticipating fall, but for those of us who live in the southeastern part of the U.S. fall arrives late, yet in a way you feel summer is over. When I was a child we started school after Labor Day. That seem like a logical end to summer, but starting in August doesn’t. I love Birkenstock’s! I have three pairs. The point of Birkenstock’s is to be unattractive.🤣 Actually yours look great. It’s nice to add a little something to our closet now and again.

    1. Labour Day does seem like the logical end to the summer. I would find it hard to start school in August. Just mentally, I’d not feel ready.

  27. Our school year goes from the end of January
    through to the start of December here in NZ so August onwards for me was mock exams for the seniors and end of year exams for the juniors and never ending marking and report writing. But there was always the summer holidays to look forward to although somewhat dampened by the thought of Xmas shopping, Xmas dinner and summer trip to organise and cater for.
    Who knew everyone had anxiety dreams about work? I had them and even after retirement they continued. For the first year of retirement I kept expecting a call from school to say I had a class waiting and where was I. After three years I finally don’t think about school and can sit and read without guilt.
    Re RLS – it is a pain metaphorically and physically. My mother had it for years so when it started I went to visit the doctor who prescribed folic acid tablets and they seem to work quite well. However I have been a bad sleeper all my life so only average a few hours most nights. If I manage a good 7-8 hours I feel a new woman!
    Sorry to hear things could be a bit tough visiting your mother. There seems to be a stage in our lives when roles reversed and we become the parent. My mother developed quite severe dementia and I had to put her into care. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
    On a lighter note I love your new Birkies. They were not an impulse buy but retail therapy and good for the soul! I live in my Mayari style ones most of the year. I have three pairs on the go – old ones which are super comfy but pretty shabby, the current pair which are great and finally the new ones I am slowly breaking in.

    1. We used to have exams before Christmas, years ago. Juggling Christmas prep, and marking and mark preparation was stressful. And it wasn’t end of year stuff like you guys do. I’m looking forward to my visit with my mum, but not to the discussions etc we will have to have when I’m there. Part of me (the cowardly part) would just like to offload all that to one of my sisters. But I won’t. 🙂

  28. I think that Life in the Time of Covid has left more than a few of us with Restless Life Syndrome. May we all find our way out of the tempest–physically, mentally and emotionally. x

  29. You are totally relevant, Sue, to all of us at similar stages of life. I’m glad you found shoes that fit, and don’t care what they cost. Hoping the Restless Leg mess gets better soon, and that September brings a sense of peace.

  30. Hi Sue,
    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. They rang so many bells! I left teaching 27 years ago and any anxiety about anything brings back exactly those dreams, as well as the cold sweats of dreaming I have not finished enough of the syllabus for my lovely seniors to sit their final exams. (I have always felt stupid about these dreams and often have to reassure myself that I did OK as a teacher by looking back at the achievements of my students — some of whom I still see or hear of.) My medical daughter says degrees of depression are common in older women as they face loss of physical abilities and many life changes, and it is even harder at present to find fun and purpose when we are locked down. Humph! I take a magnesium tablet daily, and find it excellent for leg cramps, but could not tolerate the side effects of the powdered form. Maybe a naturopath could advise. There are more kinds of magnesium than I had expected. No need to publish this long ramble. I really just wanted to thank you for making others feel good. I always look forward to your insights and the sandals look great!

    1. Fun and purpose are indeed hard to find. I’m lucky that blogging provides me with both. Trying to back off a bit o that front, though until fall. Thanks for thanking me for doing something I love to do, Helen. 🙂

  31. First of all, you look smashing in the shoe store picture! And you have such pretty little feet that look great in those new sandals. Macy’s and Zappos.com have plenty of narrow width shoes, so perhaps try looking there (Macy’s has great sales and an excellent return policy. I shop exclusively on line with them.) I still have waitress dreams (and I was a good waitress!) 40 years later. As a child, I used to get very anxious close to September from all of the “Back to School” ads. Now, as to your legs. May I be so bold to suggest that your “side effects” from taking magnesium came from taking the wrong kind – I take a slow release magnesium from Jigsaw Health. Introducing it slowly to the system keeps the gastrointestinal symptoms from happening. They should pay me or at least give me free product for all of the advertisement I do for them. You can order on-line, AND, they are guaranteed, so you have nothing to lose. I believe the recommended dose per day is four, but I only take two, and do so at bedtime. Magnesium reduces muscle cramping as well as aiding in sleep! Thank you for yet another thoughtful post; I always learn something when I read your blog. P.S. Loved the story about Rory the dog in the comments!

    1. I will definitely ask my sister about the slow release magnesium. She will know where I can get it. I know that magnesium is good for all kinds of things, including sleep. It’s a handy little mineral, isn’t it?

  32. I’m a wee bit late on this thread…
    Love your sandals…my Birks are the thongs which work for my skinny feet but wide spread toes. Lol. I’m on my second pair and will add…looking for another shiny pair.

    Great tips for RLS…I use the bar of soap trick, calcium and magnesium bis-glycinate gentle powder. Then…I take Vitafusion Probiotics gummies to control my digestive track. Amazing! With my PsA meds (methotrexate) the probiotics have allowed me to leave the house!!
    I’ll be thinking of you when you go East. Wishing your Mom all the best.

  33. I’ve always suspected that you and I were kindred spirits or perhaps twins separated at birth (except that I’m older than you!) The school dreams absolutely confirm that. Fourteen years after retiring, I still have those crazy dreams when I’m feeling particularly anxious or stressed. Even though I loved my career, I suspect that my brain will forever equate stress with teaching!

    1. That’s exactly right, Elaine. My brain must equate stress with teaching. Even though after the first five years, classroom management, or even the kids in general, were the least of my stressors. Now… deadlines, admin silliness, and the ever changing curriculum landscape were other matters entirely.

  34. Hi Sue- SoftWalk, Vaneli, Vionic, Amalfi of Rangoni, Sesto Meucci, and Munro shoe brands have narrow widths. I wear 7 or 7.5 Slim or Narrow and have high arches, so fit, comfort, AND style in shoes is important. Nordstrom cut way back on their narrow shoe inventory, but Marmishoes.com company owns the Vaneli and Sesto Meucci brands and carries a big selection. The SoftWalk sandal styles I wear every day in the summer are very comfortable and similar to your new sandals.

  35. Ah yes, the teacher brain in August. For me it’s been 10 years, and I still find my brain in August mode. Getting back into “teacher clothes, and shoes!”, and the classroom dreams. Getting up earlier. Starting to say “good bye” to my daily garden patrol. My heart aches for the teachers this fall…all of the challenges.

    1. I agree. It has been such a stressful time to be in the classroom these past two years. I worry about burnout in some of my younger friends. Especially those who are super conscientious.

  36. RLS is often associated with low iron levels. Have you had your iron checked? Iron needs to be taken with vitamin C for full absorption.

    I have found that exercising and even stretching my legs in the evening or late afternoon can aggravate RLS. Warming your legs (bath, hot water bottle, heating pad) helps.

  37. In my mid 60’s and recently retired I feel somewhat like you. Being in lockdown and living alone has me reflecting a lot on my past and the choices I made over the years, and the choices I need to make now to enjoy the rest of my life. I think when younger it didn’t matter so much as there was always time in the future if things didn’t work out.

  38. Hi Sue,
    Welcome back home. What a wonderful time away, to reconnect with your family, and especially to see your Mum and celebrate her birthday. You Mum is such a treasure. The aging process is so difficult.
    I enjoyed everything you shared. I am sure you will fill your time alone with all the things you love and enjoy doing. Maybe that will be doing nothing at times.
    I live in Arizona in the States and the temps are trying to stay this week below 104 degrees.
    When you aren’t used to the heat 80 degrees is very hot. It’s all relative to what you get used to isn’t it?

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