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The cool rainy day offers mint conditions for an afternoon nap.

My comfy bed awaits.  A soft bedside lamp glows yellow.   The warm covers are turned down.  A stack of reading material lies nearby on my nightstand.

With my homework finished for tonight’s class, I may just indulge — after I empty my mind of thoughts that have deprived me from sleep for the last three nights.

I wasn’t surprised by my hard night’s sleep on Friday or Saturday.  I sort of expected it, as I’m always keyed up before and after a big project.   Before hand, I’m full of nervous hope that all will go well and that no one will get hurt.  Once the work is finished, I’m too keyed up to relax — the day’s activities cling to me and no amount of tossing and turning shakes them off.

But last night, after a relaxing day of gardening and time spent in a good book, I expected a good night’s sleep.  And maybe I would have but for the late telephone call with my sister, where we made plans to begin a new project this weekend, that involves painting my parent’s house.   Too much stimulation before bedtime — whether it’s caffeine or talking about a big project —  keeps me unsettled.

My mother use to love to go to bed on a day like today, especially if she had her new month’s allotment of Harlequin Romances.  It didn’t matter what project she was working on and what projects were coming up.  She easily escaped her everyday world to enter a new one, one full of  love, conflict and a happy ending.

I can remember my mother buying Harlequin Romances since the late fifties or early sixties.  As far as I know, Mom never threw any away, though some she lent to others may have become unintended gifts.  Except for her favorites that she kept by her bed, every Harlequin Romance that my mother ever purchased was put in a box and shoved up in the attic.  It’s the one place we still have left to clear.

Of late, I’ve been wondering whether there is a secondary market for vintage Harlequin Romance novels.  I learned from looking online that Harlequin is reprinting some of their ‘vintage’ novels.  Wouldn’t it be crazy if these books were the most valuable asset of Mom’s scary estate?  Sounds like the stuff romance novels are made of, though to keep it real, none of Mom’s collection would ever rise to the ranks of  ‘mint’ condition.