book cat wine

The Man tells me I have a couple of warning signs that I may need a couple hours on my own to decompress.  The big two are when I "get a little shout-y" and when I have more sighs than a grim reaper convention.


Tonight it seemed like there are a few more grim reapers around than usual so I've been banished to my room with a glass of wine and my book to experience my fourth favorite time of day.

My fourth favorite time of day is the middle evening, when the sun is sitting low in the west, dappling my bedroom in dancing shadows made by the hedge outside my window and I get to enjoy the warmth of the room with my Tiny Cat snuggled in beside me.

My third favorite time of day is afternoon quiet time, when I lay down on my bed and read my book with Tiny Cat stretched out beside me, with his head resting on my arm and snoring gently.  If you've never spooned with an unconscious cat, you haven't lived.

(Please note that I said 'quiet time', not 'nap time', because I am an adult.)

My second favorite time of day is right before lights out time, when I have my hot lemon drink or glass of wine with my book, Tiny Cat curled over my feet, all snacked up from his evening treats and dozing off.

My absolute favorite time of day is when I first wake up and The Man has placed a cup of coffee on my side table (which is a chair), and I read by myself (and Tiny Cat) for an hour or so before I start the day with the childs and the gym.

I swear, I actually do leave my bedroom sometimes.

It seems like a lot, like I spend my days reading in bed, but I actually pull the trick nearly every woman I know does, of handling all the things and still putting supper on the table.  Actually, with all the activities we do, running this way and that around the province for roller derby and home school bureaucracy, I feel like I'm hardly ever home.  I spend hours in a car every day.  Reading in bed is not a guilty pleasure, it's absolutely central to who I am as a human.  It is key to my health, physical and mental.  Plus, it's good for the cat to have us some quality snuggle time.

It's always seems a bit odd to me to think of myself as belonging to a group of people, since the times when I feel completely and utterly myself, I am alone(ish).  But I do have a tribe, of sorts, of fellow heavy readers, whom I will probably never meet and don't really want to anyway.  At least in person.

Hey, you, not paying any attention to me because you've got your face stuck in a book!  Twinsies!

It is just now creeping up to my favorite time of day that is just before my favorite time of day, which is reading to a child time.  Every night, I read out loud to either boy child or girl child (I alternate with The Man), from a book that we've picked out together.  Or the child insisted on and I'm too weak to resist.  Right now girl child and I are reading the second Dirk Gently book, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams (my favorite Adams' book) and boy child and I are reading Astrix and the Secret Weapon.  Speaking of the low and variable lighting in my room, I have loads of good things to say about the Astrix books, but the size of the print is not one of them.

Do I have to mention that Tiny Cat always sits in on story time?

My roller derby team has expressed some interest in having our daily read out loud time become a Skype event.  My description of snuggling up in bed every night with my hot drink or wine, diving into a book for an hour of uninterrupted reading sounds delightful for many people.  Also I do the voices so I can be quite entertaining.  Who doesn't want to have some very excellent book read to them while they relax in bed?

The question is, why don't we all read out loud to one another more often or at all?  We love our stories (movies, podcasts, Netflix, all different ways of telling stories) but reading out loud to someone, especially as a daily just-what-we-do event, is rare beyond early childhood.  There is something wonderful about a live human voice that is telling a story that you can interact with, to slow down or speed up or explain, or pause to appreciate the weird and funny thing the cat is doing. 

With someone reading out loud to another, the immersion in the story is a collective and social experience, yet personalized and unique.  When I read a book to one child and then the other, I subtly alter the character voices and emphasize different aspects of the story to fit the child's interests.  I can tell when they've missed something important or funny and go back over the passage.  I read slower to one than the other.  It is theatre, a performance for one, and can never be repeated exactly.

I do experience the same when I read quietly to myself, my own mental state changes the way I receive a book.  Books, in return, cast light on my own life, reflecting back my thoughts but offering a new perspective that helps me figure out what to do or to appreciate what I have.  This is just one of many ways that reading forms the core of my health and being.  My heart rate slows, my brain focuses and entering a world that is beyond my narrow self-interests nourishes my spirit.

Like this evening, when I'm starting to get a bit shout-y, having being sent off with a book is the most healthy and proficient way to halt the mood and refresh.  It's my (and the cat's) favorite time of day. 


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