The rumor is this, older people have issues around getting enough quality sleep. It’s actually more than a rumor. I know this because I am older and I have trouble getting enough quality sleep. Talk about science.

It used to be that I usually got a good night’s sleep and once in a while I’d toss and turn all night to wake up tired and cranky. Now that ratio has turned around 180˚. Since I am retired and don’t have to “be there” at 8 o’clock in the morning I try not to make too much of it – unsuccessfully, I might add. And therein lies the rub.

Years ago I participated, briefly, in an on-line discussion group for seniors. That was back when I was learning how to be one. Almost immediately it became apparent that an overwhelming majority of the participants were insomniacs. One night I had one of my wee-hour wake-ups and decided to check out the group. They were all there! I asked if anybody slept at night. Generally, the answer was “No”.

The consensus was don’t lay there and fight it – get up and do something you enjoy doing. Call a friend four time zones west of you. Sitka, perhaps. There’s the internet, of course. Read that book that kept you awake too long in the first place. Mop the floor. Eat cake. Get sleepy and go to bed. If only …

Now I have this pregnant robin who spends hours every day banging her head on my window. I just knew she was going to break her neck or beak or whatever. I finally got my loppers out and cut the branch she perched on – – so far so good. I thought I’d outlast her but she finally got the best of me. That’s when I realized that eating cake at 3 AM is not as crazy as banging my head against the wall of sleeplessness.

IT FELT JUST LIKE SUMMER ON THE OCEAN TODAY. That’s quite the happening on Easter Sunday near the 44th parallel. I have never seen so many people at Wolf Neck as there were today. Bare legs and arms bleached from winter’s darkness hanging out in springtime sunshine and soft, warm ocean breezes. Pinch me – am I dreaming?

When we returned home, there were Easter Baskets to open, sent from the Florida branch and in particular the newest of the clan – the Ethiopians. One basket addressed to Grandma B and the other sent to Grandpa Jerry. Out of respect for these lovely children – and for no other reason, as I normally avoid those abominable things – I ate a chocolate dipped Peep. I have to admit, it was good! Actually it was fantastic. I never cease to be amazed at the pure transformative joy a little chocolate can produce. There is another one, of course, but it will have to wait for desert time tonight.

Since CA and I are many miles from family, we could find little reason not to indulge ourselves with a couple of nice fresh Maine lobsters for our supper. A small spring salad, baked potato and a bottle of good Chablis from the cellars at Bow Street Market will round things out. Such indulgences do not replace family but do a pretty damned good job as a placeholder until someone shows up.

Tee shirts and sock-less sandals, walkers, joggers and cyclists everywhere. I even heard a motorcycle blast by a moment ago. It ain’t daffodils but the signs of the season of growth and harvest are at hand.

I’ll resist putting up the deck umbrella today. Maybe tomorrow. – after checking the forecast.

Last evening, CA and I were enjoying a pre-supper appetizer along with an adult libation. She was dipping her favorite little puffy crackers into some spicy hummus and I was having a few slices of my favorite blue cheese on a Ritz, “Everything tastes better on a Ritz”. I mentioned that I had made some hummus from scratch a few years ago. She didn’t seem too impressed. Nevertheless, that thought lifted a rock somewhere in the backyard of my mind from under which crawled all these recollections of those times in my life when I felt that the essence of personhood consisted mainly of the practice of making it from scratch – doing it myself.

The modern D.I.Y. movement is, I believe, the attempt by modern humans to get in touch with the default human activity of making it yourself. Until very recently, everything was the product of a do-it-yourself effort. When it comes to making it yourself, I am a transitional figure. My childhood took place in the 30s when everything that appeared on the dinner table, for example, was made from scratch. Grocery shopping consisted of ingredient shopping. Mr. Galina would dip his scoop into the rice barrel, the flour barrel, the pickle barrel and yes – there was an actual cracker barrel. There was very little in the way of graphic art and packaging to misslead the appetite.

I can remember my stomach flip-flopping as I eyed all those wonderful edibles just lying in a glass case, barrel or big glass jar waiting to be scooped up, put in a paper bag for me to take home around the corner. It’s been a while since my stomach did anything like that in a modern market.

I have to smile as I remember when I first moved to Maine – the quintessential homemade state – that among the first things I wanted to do was to make cheese. That was over 35 years ago and I still can’t recall why I thought that making cheese would define life in paradise. Purchasing a little bottle of rennet was as far as I got.

I’ve been making bread for years. I am fairly competent at it. I remember once when a friend of mine asked me after she sampled my Anadama, “You made this with your hands?” I looked at my hands and showed them to her and said, “Yep, it was these two that did it.” She had this quizzical expression on her face that seemed to say, “I’m trying to decide whether or not you are jerking me around”. I was, of course. Poor thing – she was a sliced Wonder Bread baby.

One more thing: I get funny looks when I talk about one of my favorite homemade meals – rice and gravy. I just had a little for my breakfast. About half a cup of leftover jasmine rice that I made myself. Well I suppose I should say my Tatung rice cooker did it. But I could have done it. I stirred into the rice a dollop of my hand made roux based gravy that is so good that on occasion it has made people forget their names and addresses.

I’ll admit that it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but, if it was, they would be better people. I usually make enough of it to freeze and have along the way as needed. If truth be known, and it should, of course, a little gravy is always needed.