Tag Archives: Work

Rest Revolution

This radical confession could create cultural schisms the size of the Grand Canyon. But I believe in honesty when dealing with my readers, so here goes:

I take naps.        

Oh, I know some confess to sneaky snoozes on weekends. I mean daily naps during the week, when employees buzz around workloads like frantic worker bees.

“No wonder you take naps. You’re a writer,” critics point out. “What else could we expect of a degenerate who talks to imaginary people and spends half her waking hours in jammies?”

I resemble that remark. But in defense of jammies, real waistbands stifle creativity.

Back to the nap issue. Is it so difficult to believe a short rest empowers workers? In a word, yes. Anti-nap propaganda has programmed us for decades. As a college student, I never considered naps an option, not even when my then-boyfriend, now-husband, claimed I’d turned 200 pages of my zoology book, my eyes closed.

As a young office worker, I sneaked to a back room at noon and closed the drapes so no one knew I was sleeping. You would have thought I was conducting drug deals. Naps, even during breaks, make supervisors nervous. Just because my boss once tripped over my prostrate form … He recovered nicely after cardio rehab.

Like others, I have fought illegal slumber with coffees, colas and energy drinks that could substitute for rocket fuel. Some misguided souls believe noontime exercise generates energy. Since when does energy output increase energy input? They obviously have never chased after two-year-olds.

Efficient work policies include power naps, which promote employee health and safety. Alert employees are less likely to fall out of their chairs, catch their noses in machinery or flush themselves. They provide faster, friendlier service and make fewer mistakes. Studies have shown that teachers permitted a brief daily collapse are less likely to leave the country after the second day of school. Only three percent of air flight controllers who nap direct pilots to park behind McDonald’s.

Still, old attitudes are difficult to change. Decades passed before my breakthrough. One day, having dozed off, I awoke at my laptop to discover my fingers had purchased 307 Pampered Chef ice cream dippers.

I ejected from the computer, set my cell phone alarm and crashed.

A 45-minute, preventative nap could have saved my relatives the prospect of ice cream dipper gifts every Christmas until 2037.

“But I can’t fall asleep in 45 minutes!” some protest. Soothing music, accompanied by fake waterfalls and synthesized bird twitters, often prove effective. Other daytime insomniacs use power-of-suggestion downloads. I, however, find nothing works like the Lacrosse Channel or Bonanza reruns.

Speaking of Bonanza, the opening music has begun. Grab your blanky. Take a stand — er, sofa. Snuggle down, close your eyes and join the power nap revolution that … will change the … world … zzzzzzzzz.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Are you a rest revolutionary?

Loony the Lamb

For years I celebrated holidays by directing church musicals. One fateful Easter I chose Watch the Lamb, which focused on Jesus as the Lamb of God. A live lamb would make the ancient story come alive.

During rehearsals, the cast greeted our lamb with enthusiasm.

Church janitors did not. “Do something before that animal pees all over — or worse.”

Why hadn’t I considered this minor complication? Especially as the lamb made entrances down different aisles. Most Passover lambs in 30 A.D. did not wear Pampers®

 What other option existed?

God provided the perfect solution: we would cover the stage and church aisles with the burlap-like backside of my recently discarded carpet.

However, God didn’t send angels to cut, arrange and duct tape the carpet throughout the sanctuary. After two unspiritual, aching-knee days, all my bases were covered. No worries now, right?


Loony the Lamb had his own ideas about entrances and exits. A hay bale helped keep him quiet, but for obvious reasons, we avoided feeding him too much.

The 60-member cast’s noise made Loony more nervous than your Aunt Nellie. Kids petted him without mercy. Bright lights and heat caused him to hyperventilate. During dress rehearsal, Loony the Lamb collapsed onstage in a wooly, quivering heap.

Watch the Lamb? No audience would want to watch this.

Two animal lovers carried the prostrate lamb outside while we prayed — and Loony recovered. One guy built a pen outside the stage door where our prima donna cropped grass between scenes. Visiting hours were restricted, with no autographs. We did everything but paint a star on Loony’s gate.

Thankfully, he showed no new signs of cardiac arrest. His brassy baaaaa erupted only once during performances — during solemn prayer after the crucifixion.

Our ingenious actors shifted and blocked escape routes, all the while looking very holy.

One child earned my special appreciation: “Loony was peein’ on my foot the whole time Jesus was on the cross, but I didn’t say nothin’.”

Even after Loony returned home, I couldn’t shake off sheep. Scriptures about lambs leaped from the Bible’s pages. Jesus frequently called his followers His sheep. After Watch the Lamb, I figured He didn’t mean it as a compliment.

Nevertheless, the King of Heaven volunteered to take on the title “Lamb of God” — what God in His right mind would do that?

Only a King who loves confused, clueless sheep more than His own life.

Even one dithery pageant director named Rachael — which means “lamb.”


Have you participated in a pageant/play that taught you more than you expected?





Ten Ways to Play Coffee-Break Hooky

Articles offering answers to workplace stress abound. These ideas usually involve yoga, meditation and/or unemployment.

Or possibly homicide. Especially when the sun shines while you remain chained to your computer — next to a gum-popping coworker’s day-long phone conversations with her boyfriend.

I suggest a different approach.

Decades ago, summer was spelled R-E-L-A-X. We children simmered in blissful boredom. Brief exercises can simulate that past. They cost little or nothing and require equipment available in most neighborhoods.

Ready to change your life?

  1. Slam a screen door. Again. Someone will yell at you — especially if you do not own it. Fond memories of Mom’s tender threats will surface: “If you kids slam that door one more time, I’m sending you to the principal’s house!”
  2. popsicleInstead of an overpriced iced latte, buy a Popsicle. Eat another. Let them dribble down your chin so that at a key afternoon meeting, your tie-dyed clothing indicates you think young.
  3. Observe an anthill. Note how one teeny creature tugs a hot dog a hundred times its size down its hole. You will conclude that your corporate life is a picnic.
  4. Remove shoes and socks or ditch control-top pantyhose. Wiggle your toes in nice, cool dirt. For greater enjoyment, mix mud pies. I do not recommend, however, that you bake them in the company microwave.
  5. Locate a full clothesline and bury your nose in freshly dried laundry. Invite a stray to play “yank the shirt.” Set new cardio records when the laundry’s owner seeks your head in a clothes basket.
  6. Lie under an unoccupied tree and count leaves. Ponder why God likes the color green. And why He invited chiggers and mosquitoes aboard the Ark.
  7. Jump into a car with other stressed coworkers, roll down the windows and play a Beach Boys song at break-the-sound-barrier levels. Hang outside and yell at the opposite sex as you screech tires throughout downtown. This is good for an extended coffee break, especially if Dad refuses to post bail.
  8. Sing “Jesus Loves Me,” glue sticks from the aforementioned Popsicles and drink cherry Kool-Aid. Presto! You’re back in Vacation Bible School.
  9. Chase grasshoppers through their favorite habitat: Queen Anne’s lace and bachelor’s buttons near railroad tracks. The resulting exercise will supply fresh oxygen to the brain and sharpen your intelligence — no matter what passing motorists say.
  10. Write a column about playing hooky during coffee breaks. Try each activity to make sure it works. When family/coworkers/boss question your sanity, inform them you are doing important literary research.

cat_hammockThen sit in the sun under an achingly blue sky. Eat another Popsicle. And …


What’s your go-to hooky strategy?