Monthly Archives: January 2016

Only Child on sleep deprivation

Only child nodding off?

Only child nodding off?

“To sleep, perchance to dream -ay, there’s the rub” William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet. I’m not too concerned about dreams, but have a more serious “rub.”

Getting enough sleep.

Many of us have that problem for whatever reason – too much to do, health issues keeping us awake, stress, noise, etc.

I guess my situation comes under the too much to do category. With

one of the others as a result of not getting enough sleep – health issues acting up.

At the top of my life goal list right now is getting more sleep at night. I need at least seven hours, preferable seven and a half hours, something I’m  not getting except sometimes on weekends. I’m reading Gretchen Rubin’s latest book Better than Before on how to change your habits. Some good points here and I like her narrative style instead of the “do this/do that” format.

What are the culprits here? Too much of what I call “housework shit” that drags out until late at night. That could include washing dishes (no dishwasher, no space for one in the kitchen and can’t afford one), refilling the portable humidifiers (a winter chore), moving the ice cream to the freezer downstairs (the fridge-top freezer like many of them – and this is not an old fridge – doesn’t freeze the ice cream enough), etc., etc. -the list goes on. Sometimes I see the pile of newspapers and magazines on the coffee table and decide I need to read a bit to catch up. Also one thing I enjoy doing, but not late at night – watering the plants.

I also fall asleep in front of the TV, usually during the 11 p.m. news and that could be a result from not enough sleep the previous night. It finally catches up.

Interestingly, there is an article  posted on the Bell Loop page today. The title alone This is what you should eat to guarantee a good night’s sleep (science says so) is enough to put you to sleep. Maybe say it mentally instead of counting sheep when trying to enter the land of nod? The article references a recent study where 26 people for five nights followed separate diets – if they ate lots of fibre they fell asleep on average in 17 minutes and if they ate what they wanted, i.e., foods high in sugar and saturated fats and maybe some low fibre, it took them an average of 29 minutes to get to sleep.

Hmm. I have a few bones to pick (not eating them, of course) with that. First, the number of participants and time-line of the study are both low. Most studies have more people and go on for a longer period of time. Also, did these people fall asleep in bed or in front of the TV? And I question the sugar content in part. Depends on what the sugar is in. Candy, cakes, donuts – yes, will probably give you a sugar high and keep you awake.

But the food I eat some evenings containing sugar is ice cream. And that makes me sleepy. Ice cream contains milk, which I learned long ago acts like a sedative. No, I’m not going to heat up plain milk – I would just want to add chocolate powder anyway.

And what about caffeine? That sure keeps you awake. Study doesn’t address that one.

Me, I’m going to stick to my ice cream (albeit maybe I should eat it at 11 p.m. just when the news starts instead of a few hours earlier in the evening). I need to reduce some of these evening chores or get them done way before 11 p.m. – even when I go out in the evening. Then I might stay awake for 20- 30 minutes of news and weather from 11 p.m.. I like to watch 20 minutes of news and the long weather report on one channel and when they start into the long sportscast (remember I am not a sports fan). I switch over to the weather network for their longer up-to-date forecast on the 10s. And try not to keep watching all the weather news. I am a weather freak.

The study was conducted by Columbia University Medical Center and you can read a summary about that here.

What do you think?

Please comment. Any tips on getting more sleep?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Goals, Health, Only child, Sleep and Health, Sleep deprivation, Time management

Only Child on dark days of winter

winter-13505549207QUThe sun is shining right now in Toronto, Canada. That is a rarity in winter. Usually the days are so dull, grey and dark that I need a flashlight to see the dirt to mop and dust in the house.

And even with lights on the subject, I find it hard to see using my laptop in winter…even with the sun shining. It just doesn’t shine like it does in spring to early fall.

My eyes are bad enough without this.

Used to be – even up to a few years ago, that something about winter interested me. As a child in the mid to late 1950s and early 1960s I slid down the hills in the school yard. I walked to and from school in knee-deep snow, threw snowballs. I didn’t have to shovel snow then. My dad did that.

In the early to mid-2000s I would cart along my camera and take winter streetscape shots. Once I went into the large Mount Pleasant Cemetery in mid-Toronto, stomping through crusted snow (some ice pellets had fallen a few days before on top of the snow) and snapped photos of tombstones in the snow.

Cemetery Knarled tree and cross

Not any more, even with a digital camera. It sits silent in the winter, except for family shots. I haven’t ice skated in decades and any winter sport does not interest me. Even going for walks in the winter is a chore. It is too cold and takes forever to bundle up. Then there is whatever is underfoot on the street to walk on or around. True, this winter in Toronto (so far) hasn’t been bad. And in December when we still had unseasonably warm weather I did enjoy going out and walking around. I know many other areas in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Europe and Japan are getting hit with worse winter weather. But it is all the winter season.

Now, just going out to mail a letter requires serious thoughts as to when. So does grocery shopping and shopping for health supplements. Despite my stocking up in the fall, there are some things you can’t stalk up on. And being a senior on a limited budget I do consider when what store has seniors’ discounts.

But to top it off, I miss my outdoor garden, now a white/brown desolate mess. That old Christmas carol titled In the Bleak Mid Winter (based on a poem by Christina Rossetti) says it all.

I’ve even resorted to planting lettuce and basil indoors, even potato eyes, although the latter will probably only produce a plant.

So, I look at gardening books and magazines, count the days until the big Canada Blooms show in March, and do some sorting of all the paper clutter (I’m the type who hides all that away in drawers). And write. The latter – always.

How are you spending winter?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

King St

Leave a comment

Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Mom and Dad, Only child, Snow, Walking, Weather, Winter blahs, Winter Weather

Only Child struggles through 2016 goals

Teddy points out my time being wasted

Teddy points out my time being wasted

I am finally setting up my goals, hopes and the like for 2016. I use a separate form for my business, but for the personal I use four forms:

  • Want to do, have to do
  • Don’t want to do, have to do
  • Want to do, don’t have to do
  • Don’t want to do, don’t have to do

They are from a book on putting balance in your life – the title escapes me and my copy is somewhere in the shelves of books by my bed.

 

D is my favourite. Unfortunately it is the shortest list. A and C are the next favourites in line. Unfortunately B seems to be taking over with a lot of health and house issues. And stealing my time from my business of writing.

 

With the house one of my windows is having trouble with the controls. It is under warranty so money isn’t the problem. Unfortunately God’s bloody weather  with the white crap and sub-zero temperatures is the problem. The window is frozen shut and today’s appointment with the technicians at the manufacturer’s had to be postponed – we got snow (which I have to shovel – no sign of the fellow who used to shovel snow last year for a reasonable charge). The lady at the window manufacturer’s says many of their clients are waiting for spring to get the work done or I can watch the weather report and then phone – but they need a couple of week’s notice.

My vacuum has to be replaced. The hose has come loose from the end near where you hook it up to the main part. Both my son and I have had sessions taping it up with duct tape and in doing so shoving the loose part back in. But when I vacuum, the hose twists and pulls, opening the break inside the duct tape, sometimes the dirt sticks to the duct tape and there is a blockage. This weekend I had to clear that out by removing some of the duct tape, pulling out the dirt and waiting over 45 minutes for the vacuum to cool off. I turned it on and the motor worked but still no suction. I changed the dirt bag, which wasn’t even full. Then it worked.

I emailed my son to see if he could drive me to Canadian Tire when he and his girlfriend are coming here for dinner later this month. Told him I was doing online research and would narrow the vacuum choices to three but I need to eyeball them. He phoned back immediately and said he would pick it up and I could pay him back after (I can afford a vacuum within reason – just can’t cart one home on public transit) but I need to let him know which vacuum (model number and Canadian Tire product number). Now I need to find the time to finish my research.

In the health end, the list of health professionals for various health issues is long. I won’t go into details now as they are all fodder for future posts, expanded into the medical side. I know, former journalist here but the habits don’t disappear.

The health list at this point:

Get eyes tested for one-year time-line (been reminded by phone between Christmas and New Year’s of all times).

Return visit to dentist (from the emergency back in early December) – get the filling on the second tooth  replaced – a normal filling – by end of February.

Allergy tests

A little note here – the medical centre I go go have called twice on the allergy tests (again, one during the Christmas holidays) and I’ve assured them I will be booking early this year. Trouble is all the other health issues to deal with. But the medical also called (during Christmas holidays) to say they have a booking for me to see an ear, nose and throat specialize.

Wait a minute here. I did not authorize this with the doctor I saw at the medical centre. He suggested it but I said I wanted to deal with the allergies as I believe they are a big cause. He agreed with me and said nothing that he would be booking either ENO specialist or allergy tests – in fact he told me to book the allergy tests. So I told the medical call centre that I wasn’t going to an ENO now and to cancel anything there because I was focusing on allergy testing and I would be doing that.

It’s my bloody body and I’m way more than old enough to make decisions here. Perhaps later I’ll decide to see an ENO but the allergies (and the rest of the health enchilada) have to come first.

But now I have  sinusitis – probably caused by the allergies – I’ve researched it online and that seems to fit – it is also something reoccurring with me.

But I’m still going to do what is on my list.

Getting old is no fun. I know there are worse health problems – some of my friends have them. But I’m being general with that first sentence.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Weather reality

Weather reality

Leave a comment

Filed under Decisions, God, Health, Health Seniors, Life Balance, Life demands, Lists, Prioritizing, Problems, Snow, Weather, Winter Weather

Only Child Tallies 2015 and previews 2016

Only child ponders 2015 and 2016

Only child ponders 2015 and 2016

I know I’m a day early posting but I’m experimenting – might change to Mondays for weekly postings after last week. Then I wrote the post on Monday but set it to go live Tuesday at noon. But I wasn’t too clear about when exactly I was writing and with the weather timing, it became confusing when it was posted as I had set it.

2015 has finally come to an end. It was a roller-coaster year all over and personally. Here are a few highlights of the bad and good – not just personal. And I promise it will only be some – if I put all in, it might fill the proverbial book.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (in no particular order)

Health:

In the past 13 months four friends have been diagnozed with cancer. The first of them is clear after one year. And my friend next door has a very aggressive lung cancer and is now undergoing chemo-therapy. I will talk about this more in another post about cancer. As for me, I have had to deal with an on-again-off-again respiratory infection for five months, going 85 per cent deaf for six days, new and old allergies (including a local allergic reaction to a wasp sting, an injury from a fall, and a dental emergency. Plus some of my usual health issues. Getting old is no fun. But wait a minute – my friend with cancer is only 50.

Weather – all over it is catastrophic – too much rain, too much snow, floods, floods, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and the like, too dry weather, forest fires, etc. etc. You name it and somewhere on this earth it is happening. Don’t believe me or think I’m exaggerating? Go to the The Weather Network and check it out. My take here is it is a combination of green gas/climate effect and to quote what the lady on the bus back in May said “God controls the weather.”

On a personal level with weather, water got in the basement three times from rain – not a lot. But it isn’t supposed to be happening because it was all waterproofed nearly five years ago. It worked for nearly two years, then stopped. Attempts to get the contractor to fix it haven’t worked, so I mention his name to warn people not to hire him. Nigel Applewaite.

House repair problems – from iced eavestroughs and downspouts, to unlevelled toolshed, to broken rain barrels, to electrical upgrades, etc. etc. The latest – discovered New Years Day 2016 – a window with a non-working lock – suddenly – this is a year and a half old window with a lifetime warranty (well longer than I will live anyway). I have to phone the window company today and being the untrusting person I am from previous experience – there could very well be problems with how it gets fixed/if it needs replacing and if they try to charge me, saying I damaged it, which I didn’t. It stopped working; it’s defective.

Consumer issues – mostly with utilities from the long (month and a half) business with Rogers Cable taking 8 visits to find out the cause of the on-again-off again no service. I pay  my bills so that is not it. What it was is a cable outside between the poles – which I kept telling each of the seven technicians (one was sent for two calls – not two in a row) who came. Only the last one listened – a seasoned technician. He checked outside – yes, a cable needed replacing and he called in for the service technicians who do that to come in. Cable TV service was up and running within a couple of days. In November and early December , the digital cable adapter has been acting up – they are documenting that and it can be replaced if necessary. If so, I may have to pull my senior ticket to get someone to come here and install it for free. I haven’t a clue how to do that. But I’m hoping all the reception works fine.

The other utility screw-up was when I had to change my Enercare heating protection plan to the more expensive boiler one. Unknown to me, years ago. one of the previous companies (Enercare took it over) had signed me up for the wrong plan. The fellow I talked to said I could get the discount for the first year because it was a new plan for me. I also booked a furnace cleaning – included in the plan. A few weeks later after I received an email about this plan with the full rate being charged, I phoned Enercare. Not only had my furnace cleaning appointment mysteriously disappeared, they were saying I wasn’t allowed the discount for the plan itself. I kicked up a big fuss and finally got a supervisor, who said they would check the recording of when I was signed up and get back to me. I was told I couldn’t book a furnace cleaning until then, but I called in again and did so. And I wasn’t pleased with this techs cleaning summary – he never said anything except that all was okay – until I got the electronic version of the checking – my furnace which is 13 years old got a rating for a 20-year old furnace. But I finally heard back about the heating protection plan. Yes, I had been promised the discount, so I have it.

Computer problems – including the old desktop computer with Windows XP finally not able to handle all programs. My son, Martin to the rescue who helped me get signed up with another Dell Lease . Microsoft’s bad move trying to shove Windows 10 at those of us who have either Windows 7 (that’s me) or Windows 8.1 on our computers, including “accidently” downloading it on some people’s computers. That, plus any new PC will have Windows 10, and the not-so-good screen setup for good lighting and vision (tied into Windows) and trying out my son’s Mac laptop has convinced me to lease a Mac laptop this coming fall when the PC laptop lease expires.

Public transit problems – from city subway and other upgrades to service disruptions to VIA rail never failing to screw up the service when I return from holiday – no matter how my travel itinerary is set up. This latter has actually happened in 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Never enough time to do what’s important – partly because of having to deal with some of the above such as the consumer and house issues.

That’s a sampling.

On the good side for 2015, I will mention now and elaborate in next week’s post on a few of them.

  1. My family, especially my son, Martin and his partner Juni – for their support, help, etc.
  2. My friends – same reason and for just being my friends – Margaret, Nola, Tanya, Marlene, Diane, Bob, Sheila, Reccia, Ellen, Rosemary, etc.
  3. My neighbours for their help – some are friends, too.
  4. My writing and getting books published, writing books, promoting my books including presentations with other crime writers,  my writing group, my clients – the list is endless here.
  5. My health – what works – I can still walk, hear, see (the latter two have some “getting old” features), talk (some people probably wish otherwise).
  6. Good books to read
  7. Good TV programs to watch.
  8. Cooking, trying new recipes, and eating, too.
  9. Walking around and exploring Toronto.
  10. My garden – despite tree problems. I miss the garden now in the cold snowy winter weather. Spring to fall going out in my garden even just to sit calms my nerves, gives me hope and peace, that not all is bad in the world.

These are only a few. May we all have a good, prosperous and interesting 2016 without a lot of the bad stuff from 2015 or new bad stuff.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

Leave a comment

Filed under cancer, Complaining tactics, Computer problems, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Faulty Contractors, Floods, Gardening and depression, God, Health, Help and Support, Martin Crawford, Only child, Public Transit, Railways, Rogers Cable TV Service, Time management, TTC bus and bus station upgrades, VIA Rail, Weather