Sleep, sleep.

At about 2 a.m., my dog started to pant on my bedroom floor. She hit her fourteenth birthday sometime this week (though we don't know exactly when she was born, my mother reminded me this evening that we've always called it August 14), and she's just as deaf as before, and now measurably slower, too. When I arrived at my parents' house yesterday evening, the dog yelped at getting to see me again, then instantly started demanding that I scratch her dog lips (which I am no longer allowed to do because she has allergies and sores and things). After a few minutes, she wandered off to nap before her nightly dinnertime table-begging.

The temperature here is nothing as bad as, say, Tennessee, where my brother is--and where they're hoping for a cooling spell that will take them back to the low 90's during the day. But it's been steamy here, and somehow my old bedroom has never been able to get as cool as the rest of this mercifully air-conditioned house. Right about the time the dog started panting on my floor, then, I realized that I, too, was miserable. And so we decamped for the family room.

Arming myself with a flat sheet and my bed pillow and book, I took up residence on the couch. The dog paced for a short time before circling and dropping to the floor. We both kicked off to sleep, but we stayed restless all night. At some point, the dog labored her way up onto the couch and found herself a spot between my feet, but my shifting to try to accommodate her in some sustainable way caused her to clamber back down to the floor.

Though I spent the night at arm's length from sleep, I found myself weirdly unable to nap during the day--too restless, too distracted every time I closed my eyes. In this, I am not unlike the youngest woman of my acquaintance

whose mother granted permission for her child to be one of the only exceptions to my general rule of not putting my loved ones' pictures up in the Cabinet. (It's just too good and joyful to keep to myself.) All day, I thought about the wacky glee of this picture--and of the whole photo shoot that was its context. I believe that I am experiencing something like a baby hangover: even while I was sleeping on the couch last night, I found myself feeling like imitating her gestures. I miss being able to make scrumpshing sounds at her cheeks and putting my nose in her mouth and helping her rediscover (over and over again) the joys of sucking her fingers and experimenting with getting her whole hand into her mouth. I miss offering her her rattly caterpillar and seeing her huge eyes early in the morning. And to stop thinking about my trip to see her and her parents feels dangerously close to starting to think about what and how to pack for my transatlantic jaunt. And so I simply hover. (Though I did learn about M-Bags and refresh my memory of Royal Mail's international rates for packets of printed paper today, so at least the printed and bound part of the move is feeling less daunting.)

By midday I had decided that the gig was mostly up and that my best course of action would be to read Walden and other assorted books until I fell asleep. And if I didn't fall asleep in the afternoon, I'd try again at a relatively early time of night. And this is what I'm about to do, with the help of a comfortably snoozling (and apparently cool) dog.

And, of course, with one more look at that lovely small child's happiness. I hope you all get to make a face like that one every day, for one reason or another.

Perhaps--I can only hope that this is so--I managed through some fairy auntie trick to haul all sleep woes into my own person and take them with me out of Kentucky. It's so foreign to me to have trouble sleeping that I've been flummoxed by my halfhearted attempts to think up other reasons for my being this tired and this unable to doze. The heat broke today, and I have several more days before my next spell of driving, and my belly is full of the dinner I whipped up for my parents, so I'm hopeful that tonight will have me back to my normal oblivious slumber.

(But seriously: look at that outlandishly joyful little face. Try it out and see if you can keep from feeling just a little bit merrier.)