The Sleep Study


Initially I fall asleep quickly, sleep soundly for about on hour or two, wake up and think it is  morning and then have difficulty falling back to sleep. I play scrabble or a card game on my I  pad until I get drowsy again. I know, I  know, that this is a no -no for good sleeping habits–but you can’t teach a somewhat sleep deprived person with old ingrained rituals, new tricks.I wake up numerous times during the night. A bonus is that I get exercise walking back and forth to the wash room or the kitchen. Perhaps I should purchase a fitbit tracker. Who knows I may  discover that I accumulate so many steps at night that it might not be necessary for me to walk during the day. Because of my sporadic sleep pattern I am often tired during the day. My doctor suggested that perhaps I should participate in a sleep study, especially when I told her my embarrassing secret that I sometimes wake myself up with a soft feminine snort or a snore.

Overnight sleep studies are often used by physicians to determine  and ultimately treat the quality of an individuals sleep and  uncover and evaluate sleep disorders such as neurological, breathing and abnormal movement such as restless leg. My doctor set up an appointment for me at a sleep clinic. The clinic mailed me an information sheet of what to bring and what to expect.

I agonized over what to pack to sleep in  and finally decided on a velour track suit even though Toronto was experiencing a heat wave. Why did I decide on this? I like to be warm at night and a couple people told me that the clinic  where they went was freezing and no extra blankets were available. I was glad I did. I was amazed, as was my friend who drove me, to see snow, yes SNOW outside the facility. The mystery was solved when we realized that the clinic was next door to an indoor  skating arena. Instructions were to arrive at 8:30 P.M and enter through the night time  exit and to wait in the parking lot for the technologist if the door was locked. The door was locked.We waited for him to come.

I was the first patient to arrive. Soon the others showed up. They were all men. I was assigned a room with a bed and a sink. Shared washroom facilities were down the hall. I filled out a questionnaire, was weighed and measured and attached with electrodes to the scalp, head chest and legs for the purpose of measuring brainwaves, heart rate, and eye movements. The electrodes were affixed to my body parts by very, very sticky icky paste.  A sensor was placed by my nose and mouth to measure air flow, and a clip attached to my finger to measure blood oxygen levels. The electrodes were connected to a device beside my bed that relayed signals to the control room. I was also being videotaped and felt like a movie star doing a horror movie.

I was told I could sleep in any position I wanted. Right. The darn wires kept getting in the way.I was actually amazed I was able to sleep at all . Maybe it was because I  was exhausted mentally and physically. It was a busy week and I had attended a funeral that afternoon . It didn’t help that it poured at the cemetery–Or maybe it was because I knew if I didn’t sleep this horrendous undertaking would be for nothing. Apparently a minimum of six hours is required for an accurate sleep study. I don’t think I slept quite that long but I refuse to repeat the test. In the middle of the night I think my knee dislocated and caused severe pain before it went back into place. The pain only lasted a couple minutes but during those couple of minutes, I thought I  would never be able to walk again.

The written instructions that I had received in the mail said that I was to leave the clinic at 7:00 AM. This was the time I told my chauffeur/slash/friend to pick me up. At 5:15 the technician came in and told me to get up and dress quickly. I said I wasn’t being picked up until  seven. I was informed that he was closing the clinic early that day and I would have to wait outside for my lift. Yikes. I was reluctant to phone to be picked up earlier. I didn’t want to wake anybody. but I did call around 6 because I certainly wasn’t thrilled with the idea of waiting outside alone  in that desolate deserted industrial strip mall.My friend  was awake but his cellphone woke up his wife. She hurried her husband out the door. She also didn’t want me waiting by myself. Both husband and wife are long time good friends and have big hearts. He arrived a few minutes after the clinic was closed.

I was sensitive to the tape and I arrived home to discover that I had red splotches here and there and every where. The worst splotches were on my face. They have pretty well receded but even though I have shampooed my hair twice , I am still pulling sticky paste, that was used to attach the electrodes, off of my scalp.I have a follow up appointment in a few weeks to discuss the results.


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When I am feeling a little blue, while I am sitting at my computer, I look out the window  enjoy the  view and dream of the past.  Today is a warm and sunny day. Has spring/summer finally arrived and is it here to stay? I sure hope so.

When I  look out I see nature and life and concrete and brick. In the far horizon, office buildings, apartment buildings  and colourful condos are silhouetted against the sky. Just a few years ago there were no high-rises, only single family homes,  vacant land and greenery greenery,  greenery. There is still greenery  surrounding me from the ravines, mini parquets and decades old treelined  residential streets. The roofs of houses peek out through the trees. Our family lived in one of these houses for close to fifty years. Some of  these old houses still remain, but many have been demolished and have been replaced  with more modern , monster homes. The charming bungalows with walkout basements to the ravines and the back splits and side splits are fast disappearing. Is this progress? I am not so sure.

Across the road from my condominium building is an apartment building. Lots of action seems to be going on there. People leaving and arriving at all times of day and night. occasionally a police car or medical response vehicle stops by. One man barbecues topless nearly every evening on his balconey  no matter what the temperature. I get cold just looking at him. I probably pass him frequently on the street but I wouldn’t recognize him with his shirt on.

To the right of  this building there is an elementary school and portables to handle the overflow of kids. I enjoy watching the kids coming and going and playing in the school yard. Some arrive on bikes and scooters or holding tightly on to a parents hand.There used to be a school across the road from our old house too. One of my kids used to wait for the bell to ring before leaving in the morning. She was often late.That school isn’t there anymore. It was recently torn down and is being replaced with executive family homes. I wonder where the kids living in these homes will go to school. Hmm. I guess they can be bussed somewhere to another part of the city or maybe to a country school.

On the other side of the apartments are community tennis courts. Today the players are mainly  in shorts and t shirts. Some of the people walking are wearing windbreakers, as it can be breezy and cool. There seems to be a wind tunnel which unfortunetly extends  to my  balcony. I have given up putting flowers or plants out there. They just blow over. Lots of dogs are being walked or pushed in their doggy strollers. They aren’t wearing their doggy sweaters, today so i guess the wind can’t be too cold.

It is so pretty and green and sunny outside. There is not a cloud in the sky. Why am I inside? I am going to take a walk and  meet a friend for an  iced coffee and do a little grocery shopping at my local mall. I  want to be back before dark to enjoy the view from the 9th floor of the beautiful sunset that occurs nightly. Later on I will enjoy watching fireworks as this is the Victoria Day Weekend. I hope everybody enjoys this weekend.









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This is an update to 2 previous posts

1-My  New Acquaintance – A Lady Without a Home, published February 1 , 2016

2-The Lady  in the Van and the Lady on the Bench, published February 10, 2016

My lady on the Bench,  no longer has a bench. She has been displaced. Not only is she without a home, she is without a bench. It has been removed. The Mall is undergoing a tremendous renovation and management has  established a new transit hub underground at the other end of the shopping centre. I looked for her and her  bags and cases at the new location. She was not to be seen.

Coincidentally later that afternoon I was putting on lipstick  in a mall bathroom  and I spotted my lady walking towards a stall. I tried to catch her eye but she did not see me. She didn’t  appear frail and looked much healthier than before. In fact She looked beautiful Her shiny silver hair was swept up and kept in place with a nice looking barrette. She appeared to be well groomed and flashed the attendant her beautiful smile. The attendant seemed to know her as she ushered her into a large handicapped stall with a sink. My lady was carrying numerous bags and a small case with her. I suspect this is one of the places where she washes up and perhaps changes clothes. I waited  a few minutes for her to come out but I had an apointment and couldn’t stay. It is apparent that this lady has class, and in fact in one of our previous chats she informed me that she grew up in a prestige area.

A friend of mine commented that I make lemonade out of lemons. I think this  applies more to the Lady  who is no longer on the bench. Enid wherever life takes you either by choice or circumstance, I wish you well.

This is not the only person down in luck who frequented the mall. Many years ago an unemployed and homeless man, hung out in the food court. He would pick up papers off the floor and throw away garbage that patrons left behind. The food vendors noticed him and gave him hand outs and some even gave him money,. One day he came  in wearing a  donated tuxedo. He continued to clean up and  he helped people find a vacant table. Management eventually hired him and he became the concierge  of the food court. He proudly wore a tuxedo to work  everyday and became a recognized and familiar face to many.

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A Recent review for “why Me” from an award winning author

on January 24, 2016
Why Me?
I felt like I got to know the delightful E.P. Snider by reading her warm memoir Why Me? She sounds like someone I would like to be friends with and join her “Pickled Lilies” ladies group; someone who tells her tale no holds barred, but with a sense of humor. I like that she started off with her parents from the old countries (Poland, Lithuania, Russia) as this is an interesting background. There is a shift from her early years growing up Jewish in Ontario and Alberta, to a different life in Toronto as a mother, wife and friend. In fact a professional edit could turn this family memoir into two books that might easily become mainstream.
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I spent Valentines Day with Ben Vereen

Holidays are a hard time to be without loved ones. Valentines day is particularly hard to be without ones mate. It isn’t as if my husband and I went overboard in celebrating valentines day but it is a day for couples to be together and I was feeling a little down thinking about not having my other half  with me –so when a friend also widowed asked me if I was interested in getting a ticket to see Ben Vereen,  I said i was.

This talented  man was performing at the Aventura Cultural Centre in Florida. Seeing him brought back pleasant memories of fun times gone by. Seeing him  also left me momentarily feeling sad and melancholy.Years ago when Ben was just a young chap, hubby and I, along with a few other couples were in las vegas at the same  hotel where Vereen was staying.One of our travelling companions was a glamorous young woman with flaming red hair. Vereen seemed to be intrigued by her and when our paths crossed he always went out of his way to shmooze with her This very nice and dynamic lady whose hair colour changed frequently from fire engine red to strawberry blond to bright orange, and back to fire engine red, also recently passed away.

My feelings of sadness mainly dissipated when the concert was underway. Who can resist the allure of Ben Vereen. His voice and his performance earned him a standing ovation. He didn’t do too much dancing, perhaps because of his advancing age and the result of past injuries. Life wasn’t alway easy for him. When he was a young adult he discovered that he was adopted. He lost a d 16 year old daughter as a result of a car accident and  then suffered from depression and addiction to cocaine. In 1992 he suffered severe injures after being struck by a car.He thought his career was over. He did make a comeback in 1993. and continues to be a great entertainer . Kudos to you Ben Vereen.



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THE LADY IN THE VAN is in my humble opinion  a wonderful British film that made its debut in 2015 at the Toronto International Film Festival. The story takes place in the 1970’s and 1980’s in  London in a tree lined middle upperclass neighbourhood. This pretty and close knit community attracted many individuals employed or interested in the arts.

This is where Alan Bennett, renowned and famous playwright resided. This story is his story, based on his memoirs. He is a mild-mannered insecure person and considered to be eccentric and introverted. His role was adeptly performed by Alex Jennings .Actually Jennings had the task of playing two roles–The role of Bennett and the role of Bennett. Alan Bennetts two egos are constantly arguing and dithering back and forth. Jennings very good performance was overshadowed by Maggie Smith, portraying Mary Sheppard- the lady in the van.

This is Mary’s story also. In the movie, like the playwright she  is also is shown to be eccentric, but her personality was the antithesis of Bennett’s. She was gutsy, cantankerous , strong willed, loud, pushy  and a pain in the butt. This elderly lady lived and traveled about in her van When she was tired she’d  park on various streets until forced to move. She was parked outside Alan’s residence when law enforcement made her vacate. She begged the playwright to let her use his washroom facilities. He reluctantly agreed to this -but only once.

Before he knew it Mary convinced him to temporarily let her park in his driveway for a very short time. This short time lasted for fifteen years. There were a succession of vans, each one painted a bright yellow.At first the neighbours ignored her and were sceptical of her and Alan. Then both were tolerated Eventually they  begrudgingly accepted the presence of Sheppard’s  van in the driveway and Bennett’s disaster of a driveway,  thanks to his guest. Anything the lady in the van didn’t want, she threw on to the  driveway–papers, garbage- including her own waste in plastic bags that frequently broke. Alan was constantly cleaning up after her. Eventually the neighbours became  protective of their feisty vagrant.

The film unravels the mystery of Mary’s eccentric ways,  her aversion to music and her odd religious rituals. We are introduced to some of the people who played a role in her life.

I recently befriended a homeless person. {See my previous post-A LADY WITHOUT A HOME} My lady without a home doesn’t sleep in a van. I don’t know where she sleeps. During the day she sits on a bench outside a mall, with her belongings arranged neatly beside her. She is elderly like Mary Sheppard but that is where the similarity ends. She appears to be well groomed ,courteous and grateful for any hand outs. She has a beautiful smile.

The last few times I was at the mall, my lady wasn’t there. but a couple of times her belongings were. I don’t know where she goes ,but nobody has tampered with her possessions. Everybody has a story and I would like to learn more of hers.





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My new acquaintance -a lady without a home.

My new acquaintance has beautiful silver hair and blue eyes. One thing she doesn’t have is a home.I first became aware of her when I was waiting for one of the six courtesy buses that service the community to take me home after a mini shopping spree.The six buses meet on the half hour at an entrance outside  the local mall after driving their respective routes There is a ten to fifteen minute wait before they depart again. This gives passengers  time to hop on one of the other buses to reach their destination. This also gives the bus drivers a chance to stretch their legs and kibbutz with each other.

At this particular time on this particular day the drivers were laughing and looking toward the two benches where passengers wait for the buses to arrive.I  heard remarks in between their snickers such as “ maybe today you will be the lucky one and she will ride on your bus” and ‘’Where do you think she came from? Probably Jail” I walked over to sit down. One bench was crowded with a couple adults and a few kids. The mother motioned for me to sit down and said her son could sit on her knee. she gave me a knowing look as she glanced over at the other bench where a slight older woman was crowded into the corner of the bench. Her belongings were beside her on the ground. Nobody else was sitting there. I declined the offer of the mother on the first bench and sat down, beside the older lady. She appeared  to be clean and well groomed.She was sitting with her head down and her eyes closed. She looked frail.I didn’t know if she was asleep or sick. I asked her if she was okay. She gave me the most delightful smile.  she said she  thought she was fine and that she was anxious to go to DSW for a special pair of shoes that she needed because of a foot injury . I wished her luck and asked if it would be okay if I gave her a few dollars. Once again she flashed me her beautiful smile and thanked me.

I thought about her that night. It was cold and it was rainy.I was hoping she had a place to sleep other then the bench. The next morning I had to return one of my purchases. sure enough she was sitting there wrapped in a smart looking warm sweater. I asked if she had a place to sleep at night. She said yes but didn’t elaborate. I asked if she was able to get her shoes. She said she wasn’t. We chatted for quite a while. She told me that she had just spent three weeks in the hospital for a lung condition and a heart condition. When she was discharged she attempted  to get in to her rented apartment. Someone else was inhabiting it. According to her the squatter refused to leave. Proper eviction procedures to remove a person must be followed. Unclear laws make the procedure difficult.

I don’t know if her story is the whole truth. but it doesn’t matter.  Homeless people have feelings too. They should be treated with respect and kindness. Any one of us or a member of our family could find ourselves in this horrendous situation.




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