Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The full eight hours

If ever there was a time to be appreciative of the benefits of a good night's sleep, it would be today - because I haven't had one.

Do you know the feeling?  Groggy.  Tired but not sleepy. I actually feel a little sick - and it's all because I didn't get enough shuteye.  

This year I've been trying to give more attention to quality sleep. I'm naturally a night owl and would happily stay up half the night and deal with a little groggyness in the morning if I could read a few more chapters of my book or enjoy another episode of Game of Thrones.  But after reading a few articles about how much we need our sleep and what happens to us when we don't get it (there is a good one here), I've been trying to focus on shutting down Facebook, creating a good sleep environment, and going to bed just a little earlier to build up a proper bank of sleep.  

And the results have been amazing.  After the first week or so I found that I was waking more refreshed in the morning and that my body clock seemed to just work better.  I slept when I was tired and I woke when I'd had enough sleep.  My brain felt clearer, it was easier to juggle different tasks and thoughts at the one time.  I was able to focus better. And I started dreaming the way I hadn't done since I was a child. Who knew that snuggling under the doona and doing nothing but sleep could be so great?

I don't really know why I couldn't sleep last night but I think it was just that my brain didn't shut down for the night.  I was lying in bed yawning and my body was tired but my brain was jumping around like an energiser bunny.  I tried all the usual tricks: glass of milk and some almonds, turning on the light and reading, remaking the bed, brushing my hair and changing PJs, relaxation exercises, watching TV, but the hours ticked by and sleep just didn't come.  I'd feel myself sliding towards it sometimes and then just before I'd tip over the beautiful precipice into slumber, I'd think of something I had to do or jerk awake after hearing some sound.  So frustrating!

Luckily a night or two of decent sleep will redress the balance and I'll be back on track. But feeling like I do today really reminds me of how much I need to continue focusing on getting enough sleep.  

What are your tips for getting a good nights rest?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Jacaranda blue

Or is it Jacaranda purple? 

Whatever it is, it's Jacaranda season in Brisbane!

I love Jacaranda time.  Trees burst out into a froth of purple blooms that sway and move in the breeze like a couture gown . 

Each blossom ranges from lilac to deep purple and as they float down from the tree, they coat the ground in a soft purple carpet.

During the season I love to drive the streets, drinking in splashes of Jacaranda goodness. They are beautiful en mass when they gently line a street or path and they are stunning when they stand alone against the sky, their boughs dripping in purple beauty. 

I also love the elusiveness of these delightful trees in that they are soooo difficult to photograph.  It's hard to capture the feeling that a glimpse of a tree in bloom can give. 

They demand admiration, but they are really quite camera shy.  Each year I try again to capture an image that shows them in their true beauty. Maybe one day I'll manage it, but until then I'll keep trying and I'll always admire them.


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Give me Asian chicken any day

You can learn a lot about people by sitting in a crowded food court in the city.

Today I took a bus into the Mall to run a few errands and soak up the atmosphere. I spent an hour browsing around Dymocks (I really miss big bookstores) and then crossed the street to the Myer Centre for lunch. 

As I rode up the escalator to the food court I was met with a cacophony of noise and movement and the aromas of a hundred meals. I stood for a minute savouring the mass of choice and then headed straight for the Asian section. Sure, a salad is healthy, chips are delicious and a sandwich is filling - but for my money, I will always choose Asian.

I ordered my soy steamed chicken with Asian greens on rice, got a stash of chilli oil, some chopsticks and a bottle of water and settled myself on a high bench seat, looking out into the food court. 

After the first few hungry bites I slowed down and started to watch the people around me while I savoured the flavours. Office workers dashed through lunches while talking on their phones, a tourist wandered past, holding a video camera aloft [Item - why would anyone want to see a holiday video of a food court?] Families looked for tables to rest their feet while the kids chowed down on chips.

A girl sat down across from me on the bench. She had a plain roast meat sandwich - brown bread, no salad - and a can of Fanta. I was amazed at the blandness of her choice. With a world of different food options around you, how could that be your decision?  
I dribbled some more chilli oil on my lunch, forked up some more fragrent chicken and tried to tell myself that everyone was different and that different was good.

"Excus me," said a voice. We both looked up to see an Asian man standing next to us with his wife and mother-in-law in tow.

"Iz there a McDonalds or Hungry Jacks sozewhere close?" he said.

I told him that I had just passed a McDonalds at the bottom of the escalator. He asked if I knew where the Hungry Jacks was and I said I didn't know. He thanked me degectedly and they walked away. The girl and I looked at each other in amazement and she said what I was thinking: with all this choice, how could you possibly want that?!
Diversity makes the world go round....

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