Category Archives: Uncategorized

Poor sleep is NOT inevitable [with ageing]

I’ve been a night owl for most of my life, but once asleep, I’d sleep for a solid eight hours and wake refreshed. In recent years, however, my sleep has become progressively worse, with eight hours becoming six and much of that ‘broken’.

Me…without the spots

I thought, “Well, I am in my sixties…”

That resigned thought joined a host of others as more physical niggles set in. Arthritis in my big toes? Check. The beginnings of arthritis in my right thumb? Check. Deteriorating eyesight? Check. Reduced energy? Check. Reduced ability to think? Kinda. I can still do mental gymnastics first thing in the morning, but by late afternoon my mind and body cries out for a nana nap… -sigh-

I solved the problem of the arthritis [at least for now] by eating a bowl of Morello cherries with plain yoghurt for breakfast every day. The Morello cherries [also called ‘black cherries’] contain ‘…anthocyanins – plant pigments that have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The Morello cherries don’t cure the arthritis, they simply reduce the inflammation. And they do it without destroying the lining of your stomach like most chemical anti-inflammatories. Most importantly, they will keep you pain free if you keep eating them. Plus they are delicious.

I owe the late Bob Hawke for the tip about the Morello cherries. And no, I’ve never had a direct line to Bob Hawke. 🙂 Like many others, I  watched an interview in which he mentions that he controls his arthritis with Black Cherries. I did my research and discovered that Black Cherries = Morello Cherries and they really do work.

[Note: you can find Morello Cherries in glass jars at most Coles, Woolworths and IGA supermarkets. The cost is about $4 per jar.]

The eyesight is still a problem as I need three hands and a strong magnifying glass to thread a needle…BUT, I think I’ve solved the sleep, energy and brain power problems. And they all boil down to one thing – avoiding ‘blue light’ for a couple of hours before bed!

“Blue wavelengths—which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times, and mood—seem to be the most disruptive at night. And the proliferation of electronics with screens, as well as energy-efficient lighting, is increasing our exposure to blue wavelengths, especially after sundown.”

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side

If you go to the Harvard Health website [see link above] you’ll see a picture of someone lying in bed, reading from an electronic device. That used to be me. I’d hop into bed, get comfy, turn on my Kindle Fire and read for half an hour or so.

Reading in bed is a habit I’ve followed since I was about eight years old. It never occurred to me that changing my reading material from books to the Fire would have any negative effects. After all, I’d spent years reading my ordinary Kindle without any ill effects. Trouble is, I didn’t realise that the Kindle Fire screen is back lit with blue light while the ordinary Kindle has no back lighting.

I’d still be struggling with poor sleep, and all the ills that flow from it if not for Navigator, an online friend with life long sleep problems. His problems are slowly disappearing thanks to a simple change of routine and some Melatonin tablets. I figured if the ‘cure’ works for him, it might work for me too. I don’t take the Melatonin [yet], but I have been turning off the pc, a bit earlier and reading an old fashioned book for the last couple of weeks. And it’s working. Honest!

My next step will be to get a special filter for my pc. Apparently you can set it to change the backlighting from blue to a kind of sepia at sundown. You can also get prescription glasses made up with an inbuilt blue light filter, but as you’d expect, they’re kind of expensive.

Anyway, if poor sleep is something you’ve been living with for a while, try to reduce the amount of blue light from electronic devices, especially in the evening. You may find that poor sleep is not a function of your age at all.

Cheers

Meeks


A shed by any other name…?

This is a shed, a quirky shed, one of 23:

This Hobbit-hole type shed is featured in a fun article on New Atlas. With bad news at every turn, sometimes it’s nice to remember that we humans have some positive qualities as well. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


WordPress settings – an apology

In an earlier post I mentioned that I’d had an unsatisfactory year with a particular email client. I thought that once I changed to Fastmail, all my problems would be over. Not quite. Everything seemed to be working properly, but I did notice a sudden drop in WordPress notifications. At first, I assumed this was simply because Fastmail was ‘catching up’ with the output from bloggers I follow. It’s now been almost a month, and I’m still not getting notifications from all the people I regularly read. What the…?

I guess I should have noticed something was wrong sooner, but as I was getting some email notifications, I just thought the missing bloggers weren’t posting much. Another thing that stopped me from investigating sooner was that I was finding some posts via Twitter. Given that my brain is getting older, it never occurred to me to check for those same posts in my inbox…

But enough excuses.This morning I finally went into my WordPress Reader/Streams/Followed sites/Manage and discovered that WP has done something weird again. To be exact, it seems to have changed the default settings to this:

Each slider button is set to ‘off’. When I turned the first ‘Email me new posts’ slider to ‘on’, I received an alert telling me to click a link to email notifications. There, I found a tick next to a checkbox about blocking email notifications. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do that. 😦

Once I unchecked that option, I noticed some of my old settings showing up again. Yay.

Working through my followers list one by one, I noticed that many of my ‘regulars’ had been turned off [like the pic above]. Some of these bloggers are people I consider to be friends as well as ‘regulars’. :/

To all of you, my sincerest apologies. I haven’t ignored you out of disinterest; I genuinely haven’t been getting notifications. 😦

Have I fixed the problem now? Sadly, I don’t know. The reason is that some bloggers with notifications turned off have still been appearing in my email inbox. Others, whose settings showed as ‘on’ already, haven’t been appearing.

Another problem is that I’m not sure exactly how the notification settings work. Do I need to turn on ‘Notify me of new posts’ as well as ‘Email me new posts’? The first one seems to be for web and mobile only so does it apply only to the WordPress Reader? Or is it a kind of pre-requisite for the other two options as well?

I have no idea at the moment, so I’m going to have to wait and see. In the meantime, please know that I’m having technical difficulties, and that I’m not snubbing you!

-hugs-

Meeks


The Arctic Is On Fire Amid Hottest June Month On Record, More Than 100 Fires Raging —

“The number and intensity of wildfires in the Arctic Circle is unusual and unprecedented,” said Mark Parrington, a scientist at the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service in an interview with CNN, “They are concerning as they are occurring in a very remote part of the world, and in an environment that many people would consider to […]

via The Arctic Is On Fire Amid Hottest June Month On Record, More Than 100 Fires Raging —

I shudder to think what the next Aussie fire season will be like. Why aren’t our mainstream media airing news items like this?


Renaissance Garbage — My OBT

via Renaissance Garbage — My OBT

Beauty from stuff we literally throw away! Gobsmacked.


Still plodding along…

Apologies for being a bit slack with posts this last week. I’ve been very focused on the iVokh model, plus work, plus sorting out my new email client, plus hardware issues, plus life….

Ahem, enough excuses! On the creative side, this is the most recent concept of the iVokh’s second, mostly hidden arm. First the skeleton:

As you can see, it’s very much like the arm of a bat:

One major difference, though, is that the iVokh hand has a ‘real’ thumb. This is what the hand looks like once it has some skin:

It doesn’t look like much, but it’s a lot better than my first attempt:

According to the Offspring, this one looked more like a duck’s foot than a wing…

When I looked at that first attempt without my rose coloured specs, I realised the Offspring was right. Don’t you hate that? lol I won’t bore you with a blow-by-blow of how hard it was to create the illusion of ‘folds’. Moving on.

I mentioned some time ago that I was having email issues. Well, they all stem from the fact that I refused to give up my personal email address. That email dates back to the time when I hand coded my own website, using a graphical interface that looked great, imho, but wasn’t all that user friendly:

Okay, maybe it didn’t look that great, but it was back in 2002 and clicking on one of those images took you to a new page with info specific to that image – i.e. clicking on the guitar took you to ‘music’ while the newspaper took you to ‘news’. -sigh- The website was a failure, but I’m still proud of what I did.

Anyway, in order to have a website back then, you had to have a ‘domain’. Think of a domain as a digital anchor. Once you have one, you can attach it to a web hosting service. The hosting service provides the actual ‘real estate’ on which you build your website. Once you have a website, you can use it to create email addresses. Remember, this was long before Gmail etc.

Now we get to email clients. An email client is a program [app] that sits on your computer and ‘talks’ to the server where your email lives. Outlook is an email client, and so was Opera Mail. I used Opera Mail for years until it stopped being supported. Then I paid, in advance, for one, long year using Microsoft 365 via Outlook….

-cue happy music-

That year is over, and I am now using Fastmail. 😀 Fastmail is web-based, but when I have the energy, I’ll set it up with Thunderbird [the Firefox email client]. The beauty of using Thunderbird is that it will check Fastmail for me and download any new emails…without me having to log in and out all the time! I know that sounds lazy, but I used to check my emails multiple times a day. With 365 I’d only check once a day because of the hassle. I’m really looking forward to using my email properly again.

And finally, my hardware problems have been sorted too, thanks to the Offspring. I’ll be taking one of the Offspring’s old computers into work to use as my demonstration machine which will free up my laptop for one of the students to use [during class]. -dance-

All’s well that ends well, and I hope your week was as productive as mine. 🙂

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


Recognize this tree?

No, the title of this post is not a trick question. I saw this amazing tree while out driving, and I’d love to know what it is. Here are the pics I took:

Ground level

Close up

Up and up and up….

Berries?

The colour and shape of the leaves made me think it might be like the magnolia grandiflora we used to have in Dad’s old garden. It was small to medium tree-sized, but I don’t remember it having berries. I also can’t remember ever seeing one so very, very, very big! And those roots! Hard to believe it’s growing near the corner of a busy intersection in one of the more inner suburbs of Melbourne.

If you know what this tree is, please let me know in comments.

Thanks,

Meeks


Call for bloggers

via Call for bloggers

This is a great initiative and the proceeds go to a great cause – no kill animal shelters!


Compassion in practical action

via Compassion in practical action

Please follow the link to the ‘Backpackbed’ site. This amazing invention is true compassion at work.


Stress aaaand…release

With a title like that, I’m sure you’ve all guessed that I’ve been under some pressure lately. Oddly enough, the one person who didn’t know was me. I thought I was having a heart attack or something. Duh. The doctor said most emphatically that there was NOTHING wrong with my heart!

There, that was the good news and the bad news in two short sentences. The lived reality was a little more drawn out though, and probably began on Christmas Eve, 2018, when I started to get muscle spasms in my back. The reason? Trying to mow about an acre of steep land with a battery driven lawnmower and whippersnipper [edge cutter for non-Australians].

I’d been mowing little bits for weeks, so my back was used to the backwards and forwards motion of the lawn mower; it was the side-to-side motion of the whippersnipper that actually did me in. Continuing to do normal ‘stuff’ for a few more days compounded the problem and led to about four weeks of misery. As the muscle is in my middle back, twisting hurt, getting into bed hurt, rolling over in bed hurt, pushing up from bed to go to the loo was agony. All because those damn muscles are used by our arms for just about everything.

Adding to this physical misery was the weather. Fire season has been awful this year, and despite the rain during the last couple of days, I’m still not sure it’s over because the ground is bone dry. With so little moisture in the ground, any day with wind becomes a potential bushfire day. Warrandyte has had many small fires, but nothing major, unlike the rest of the state, thank god. So add an almost constant, low grade fear to the backache.

Part of the reason for that fear was that I was due to start my paid job in April. Who would turn on the pumps and protect everything if I was out working?

As things turned out, the start date was delayed until the 3rd of May, which was just as well because April ended up being an awful month. Beloved little friend Buffa died, the offspring had medical issues, lots of driving backwards and forwards, very little sleep, constant anger thanks to the political situation both here and overseas and bang, I had what felt like heart palpitations…for hours.

As I said at the beginning of this post, the doctor said it wasn’t my heart. All the tests proved that it wasn’t my heart, but I wasn’t ready to accept that it was ‘just’ stress and anxiety until yesterday. You see yesterday was the day I taught my first class at the retirement village, and it was wonderful. So wonderful, in fact, that I could literally feel the weight of all this combined fear and anxiety falling off my shoulders.

Last night I slept for seven hours straight. Today I feel ready to take on the world again. More importantly, I feel like me again, positive, optimistic, Pollyanna-esque me. 🙂

I don’t like talking about negative things much, especially when they relate to me, but this episode really shocked me as I’d always thought of myself as quite laid back, competent, easy going…

I was wrong, and I suspect I’m not alone, so if your life feels as if everything is becoming too much, please don’t soldier on. Stress creeps up on all of us, no matter how strong we think we are, and stress can cause actual, physical symptoms. Chronic stress can also depress the immune system which can then lead to even more problems.

Please, don’t dismiss the negative things in your life as ‘just’ stress. There’s no such thing. Stress can cause real damage, so be kind to yourself and put some balance back in your life. If you are doing too much, take a good long look at your day, and ask yourself whether all of those tasks are really important, or whether they’re just part of you, wanting to live up to your superwoman image?

The crunch for me came when I realised that I was physically incapable of driving all the way across town and back on just a couple of hours sleep. But I did need to be at that appointment so I threw my very tight budget out the window and took a taxi there and back. Those two trips cost me almost $200, but I ended up napping in the back seat of the taxi instead of at the wheel of my car.

I’d like to be superwoman, but at 66 I’m starting to learn my limits. And I’m so much happier for it.

-big hugs-

Meeks

 


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