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Sleep – a wonderous thing.

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Blue moon, earlier this month.

I am NOT a morning person, so WHY am I waking up at the crack of dawn these days???? WHY???

I was awake at 4.28 this morning. 😦

One of my favourite things to do is sleep. I don’t mean that I sleep all the time, or even a lot, but I used to love going to bed at night with the prospect of a good, long, deep sleep about to happen. Now it is not happening anymore.

I’m about to try a range of things to try and get my sleep back.

I’m going to try and go to bed around the same time every night. I’m used to going to bed when I feel like I’m about to fall asleep on the couch, which is anything between half past nine to half past eleven. Never earlier, and rarely later. And then I used to wake up around seven in the morning. So from last night, I’m going to go to bed at 10pm, every night. Routine.

I will seriously attempt not going onto social media or any electronic devices for the last hour before I go to bed. (TV doesn’t count as an electronic device, right?)

Read a book. I’ve started reading a book last night, and will continue to do so every night as the last thing I do before lights out. (I actually used to do that!) I didn’t get very far last night before my eyes started to droop, so maybe that will help getting me off to Lalaland…

I need to get more physically active, which might help. I walk with my dog most days, but it seems that is not enough. I refuse to go to the gym, so I’ll have to work something out that will tire me out.

I’ve heard that lavender helps for people battling to sleep, so I even have a small bouquet of lavender on my bedside table now.

An option I’m not ready to entertain yet, is that a lot of people need less sleep as they grow older… Please, NO! Until I’ve exhausted all other avenues, I’ll assume that my sleeplessness is because of financial issues. Maybe it’s my biorhythms that are out of whack. Or Covid. Yes, let’s blame it on the pandemic!!

Hopefully after this whole pandemic schlepp is over, I’ll get to sleep well again. In the meantime I will try all the above, and see if that gets me back to my normal sleeping patterns.

Any ideas from your side? Maybe you’ve tried something that worked for you – I’m willing to give it a go!

Until we chat again, sleep tight, but don’t let the bed bugs bite! 🙂

Chinese Curse?

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The Cat in better times, curled up and sleeping.

“May you live in interesting times.”

I used to know this to be a Chinese curse, but reading up about the origin, it has never been proven to be either Chinese, or a curse. But for the purpose of this blog, I’m sticking to it being a curse…oh, and Chinese!

It makes sense, doesn’t it, to be a curse? I mean look at the past two years. They have most certainly been interesting. And I think few of us will see them as having been a blessing. They (the last two years) have been unpredictable, uncertain, restraining, stressful, uncomfortable, depressing, financially unstable, etc. All due to Covid 19. Covid – China? Get it?

On a more personal level, the last while has been ‘interesting’ to the extreme. Besides the virus buggering up a relatively smooth sailing life financially, there have been a couple of other factors in the mix.

My mom, and my cat. My mom’s health has been up and down for years, but lately she has been feeling very sick (while she was here visiting.) The doctors reckon it is because of the sprays used on the vineyards. So, I believe that the two years I’ve spent trying to get her to move down here, has been for nothing. Why would she move somewhere that makes her ill? I’m not a hundred percent sure that is really the basis of her illness, but what do I know, right? I’m thinking it is psychosomatic. Now she is home, 1500km’s away from me, and still feeling very ill, and I can do nothing to help her.

My cat. Remember him? He was driven over by a guest in February (see a few posts about that in February and March of this year) and since then the poor guy has had an uphill battle. It took a very long time for him to get over the injuries from this accident, and he was just on his way to being his old self again, when something happened to him – I’m not a hundred percent sure what. I think it was a visiting tomcat that got into a fight with him. I did hear cats fighting outside one night. And then I found a cut on his shoulder. Since then he has been afraid of everything – Daisy (my border collie and previous best pal), sudden movement, the outside, his own shadow. His health has been deteriorating since then. I did take him to a vet, she said he is fine, physically. I have given him cat vitamins. Still he hardly eats, and lies under a blanket day in and day out. He doesn’t go outside anymore, and pees where he lies. So, I’m thinking it is time to do the merciful thing and put him out of his misery?

It is SO hard to even contemplate. He purrs when I open the blanket and stroke him. But he doesn’t want to come out of the safety and darkness of the blanket. Surely that is not a life for a cat?

Oh darn!!! 😦

I have to end this on a more positive note, or I’ll also crawl under a blanket and stay there.

Thankful for :

  • My health, and that of all my loved ones (even mom – no Covid so far, and hopefully the medication does the trick)
  • The fact that I am busy planning my trip to Canada to see my kids
  • A brand new grandchild due next year 😀
  • The fact that my little guesthouse is doing well
  • A house, food and clothes
  • The fact that I live in a very beautiful part of the country
  • The fact that my son in Ireland is coming to visit in Dec

So, a brand new week, and hopefully some light on the dark areas in my life – I will continue believing and praying. Onward and eyes upward!

A Winter’s Tale.

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Not Shakespeare’s play, or the book by Mark Helprin, not even the songs by Queen or David Essex, although both are definitely worth a listen.

Just my own little Sunday story.

It has been unseasonably warm the last week or so. I’m a believer that winter has to be properly cold, to kill off bugs and other nasties, and I love winter, so I was a bit peeved about the warmer weather.

But today is colder, and I am not going anywhere, so I am doing the ‘slow’ thing today. I woke up, fed the cat and dog, made myself some coffee, and took myself and the coffee back to bed. Not to sleep, no. But it was the warmest place to be, so I read in bed for an hour before getting up and getting dressed.

I had to do a quick stop at a shop, unfortunately, but I needed one or two ingredients to make my and my SO’s favourite date and nut loaf. It is baking as we speak, and smells delicious. I am sorry that he is not here to share it with me, but I did make him one before he left to go back north.

I can not deny that I am feeling a bit out of sorts today. I had a wonderful long chat with my son in Ireland last night, but today I am missing him and my Canadian children fiercely. And even though I saw my son in SA about 2 weeks ago, and my SO as well, when the missing starts, it encompasses them all. It is in fact causing a pain in my chest and a constriction in my throat. So I am trying to rise above that by keeping sort of busy, but it will probably get the better of me sometime during the day… I will definitely go for a long walk with Daisy later, to get some good physical exercise too.

So that is basically my winter Sunday story. Not a very chirpy one, I know, but weekends on my own often result in these emotions.

But let me try and end on a positive note. Although it is colder today, the sun is shining outside, the birds sound deliriously happy because they are chirping away like crazy, and the date loaf is nearly ready to come out of the oven! I will be having at least two slices with some tea within the next hour – yum! I had a good night’s sleep, and I am still hearty and hale!

So all you good folk and gentle people, have yourself a wonderful Sunday, and be kind to yourself.

Rising to the occasion.

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Crusty loaf, fresh out of the oven, with mature cheddar and tomatoes.

This Monday didn’t start off too badly.

I had a good night’s sleep last night, after a few nights of being awake a lot. On Saturday night I was cold most of the night – I was curled into a ball all night. Why not add a blanket?, I hear you ask. I actually thought about that, but I kept thinking ‘I’ll warm up now’ – it just never happened. Also, the blanket I needed was still in its summer hiding place, which meant I had to get up, walk through the house and go and fetch it there, which was also never going to happen.

But last night I made sure I had the blanket thrown over the bed before bedtime, and I slept snuggly.

This morning started with 2 enquiries for accommodation at the guesthouse, one for tonight, and one for a weekend at the beginning of August. They both accepted the quotes, now I’m waiting for payment, which may or may not happen, but I’m pretty positive.

Best of all, I started making bread last night. I made the dough and left it to slowly rise through the night. This morning I popped it into the oven, and olé! – fresh bread for breakfast! Isn’t that just the best way to start your day?

The first slice always with butter only, while it’s still hot. The second slice with something added to the butter – this morning it was some of that mature, white cheddar lying next to it, and a cup of tea. Sometimes it’s with apricot jam, or golden syrup, or Bovril (similar to Marmite or Vegemite, only supposed to have beef in it). My absolute favourite way to eat warm, fresh bread though, is simply smeared with butter. Heaven!

I went without bread for about four months a few years ago. I climbed on the ‘no gluten’ bandwagon to see what difference it will make to me, my health, and how I feel generally. It made not one iota of difference at all. So, I’m done with that! I even have a little sign in my kitchen above the bread bin that says (roughly translated from the original Afrikaans):

BREAD...
Bread is the warmest, most kind hearted of all words
Always write it with a capital,
just like your name.

Maybe I should have called this post ‘an ode to bread’, but yes, I love bread, there’s no getting away from it!

Any other bread lovers out there?

Mental well-being.

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False Bay, Western Cape, South Africa.

Be positive. Be positive. Be positive…

Easier said than done. I can pretend I am positive all the time, while I’m screaming inside. What good will that do? Maybe if I pretend hard enough, I’ll actually become positive? Maybe. I doubt it though.

I’ve written before about how I do all these little ‘things’ to stay busy and positive and happy. It’s not working for me anymore.

Let me tell you why. (You might not be interested to know about my woes, but I’ll tell you anyway…)

I AM happy about the fact that we (my loved ones) are all still healthy, have food to eat, and roofs over our heads. I AM happy that we are comparatively free to live our lives and go about our business (the ones here in South Africa anyway. The loved ones in Ireland and Canada, are much less free.)

But the fact that all of us cannot see the end of these limitations that have been placed on us regarding travel, the fact that a lot of things related to Covid and vaccines are still unclear and uncertain, is really, REALLY getting my goat now!!! And I know I’m not the only one. And it is also not only for the sake of traveling. Thousands, maybe millions of people have loved ones living in other countries – children, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters – and we are forbidden to see them. What does that do to family relationships? How does that impact on people’s mental health? I can tell you – very negatively.

My shoulders and neck are sore and stiff all the time. I don’t sleep well. I’m irritated. I have difficulty breathing properly. And I cry at the drop of a hat.

Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m just a sugar lump, that melts at the first few drops of rain. But I’m thinking there must be others out there who feel the same way.