Times have been crazy. They have been so crazy that I have avoided writing about them.

In the old days, pre-Lumix, I would struggle fitfully with myself, desiring a creative outlet for my frustrations but finding myself too wound up to knit. The writing avoidance thing is okay now, because I have my new Lumix FZ20 to take out my creativity on when I can't get it together enough to write properly about real things happening in the present.

I do hope you like photographs.

I am trying these days, and very sincerely at that, to get it together: to sleep at least four consecutive hours in a row, to remember to wash my hair at least once every three days, and to eat more than a piece of toast for supper, but I have been having difficulties with these seemingly simple things.

Sometimes when I can't sleep these days, it is because I am simply far too awake to do anything but stare at the ceiling through the murky dark, wondering how much longer I have before the cat sticks his cold runny nose into my eye socket again.

Sometimes, I can't sleep because I am hungry, but I can't fix my hunger with food because I am too nauseous to eat it. Occasionally I can't eat because the thought of spending that much energy to sustain my life every few hours seems like a sisyphean task, except without the forever part, because thankfully, I will die one day.

(But don't worry! I don't feel that way today! Really! At this very moment, I am eating a peanut butter sandwich that has been sweating inside cellophane, which I love, because it reminds me of how peanut butter sandwiches smelled and tasted twenty-five years ago when I took them out of my orange lunchbox at school. That was a blissful moment in my eight-year-old day which was made to seem all the more beautiful by its contrast to the tin foil some kid would make me chew a few moments later. See? Today I am both eating and having pleasant memories).

And sometimes, I can't sleep because I am rapidly flipping through my stack of mental index cards containing every single possible personal failure and external threat that could mean my demise. How could I possibly sleep when I have so many failings to alphabetize and put into discrete categories?

Also, I have to go over horrible things that have never happened and feel every emotion about them that I forecast I would have if they were ever real: the Fiery One's bloody death beneath the wheels of one of Cityville's psychotic drivers, or Oskar-the-cat eating and then succumbing slowly and painfully to something like a sewing needle that I have left out due to my being a loathesome excuse for a blight on existence, or my burning down our whole apartment building and leaving us destitute because I burned incense just like my mother always told me not to.

Gosh, all I've talked about is sleeping, and I haven't even moved on to my difficulties with personal hygiene and eating. Now that I look at it from this end, though, I think the hygiene and food thing is all part and parcel of my anxiety-induced insomnia. How can I eat with so many non-things to worry about? How could I even think of taking an extra minute to wash my hair?

And I haven't even gotten into the paranoia I feel that others are watching me with suspicion. Surely they can hear my speedy blood roaring through my veins! Have I been darting my eyes around again? Damned eyeballs! Can they tell I don't know what I'm doing? No, I know what I'm doing, goddammit! Do I know what I'm doing?

Last night, though, I took a hot bath, drank warm milk, and swallowed a herbal sleep aid before going to bed, and I slept through the night. It's amazing what that kind of thing can do for a person. Today, I feel alert, more postitive, less paranoid, and my blood has quieted down. My nausea is gone, too. I also washed my hair.

Would you like to hear about the gas that often accompanies my anxiety?

I bet you're wishing that I'd just stuck with taking photographs.