I shrunk the beets

Today is almost a free day: people for breakfast at 8, a guest and his dog for dinner at 5:30.  I had free time in between to catch up on a computer backlog. I put some beets in to roast and got busy, reliving emails past, and forgot about them.  Ai me.

The sad thing about so-called catching up is that then you have to follow up  the catch-up:  file it or reply to it or toss it.  The longer you have kept it, the older it is, the easier it is to toss it, unless it has achieved some sort of historical status.  Too bad, then.  I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, etc. etc...

We had a lovely, sunny month of November so my Seasonal Affective Disorder was kept at bay.  Finally, though, the dull grey damp days  have descended and I am dreary and down.  And oh, how I miss my fireplace!  Even fourteen years since I had one of my own, I long for the snap, crackle and pop of burning wood.  

This is not a blog; it’s turning into a litany of woes.  I should cheer you/me up with an explanation of sleep patterns.  Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before; it will do you good to think about it again. No matter whom you talk to these days, sooner or later you learn that he/she/they don’t sleep well. I know at least three people right now who are packing their jammies to go off to be wired and have their sleep patterns observed. I shouldn't think it’s a very pleasant sleep-over. The sleep gurus tell us that we need seven to eight, preferably eight, hours of sleep every night, and now they’re dooming and glooming about sleep deprivation saying you can never catch up.  

See, I think these dire predictions began with the Industrial Revolution when Big Business wanted its workers to get eight hours of sleep every night so that they could be efficient during a 9-to-5 day.  Of course, electricity helped people stay up past their bedtime.  When you had to light a candle against the dark, it must have been easier to go to bed at an appropriate hour.  Appropriate for whom? Long before lights and Netflix, people were accustomed to two sleeps, and accepted the concept of two sleeps.  I am told this was a familiar idea dating from Roman times, though I have not found the source of that belief.  However, you will find reference to first and second sleep in Chaucer.  I suppose it’s related to our Circadiian rhythms. And I don’t know how this fits it, but I have read that when people are put in the dark, say, in caves, (Why??) their 24-hour day lengthens to about 28 hours.

Anyway, the first and second sleep works out to a peaceful four or five hours followed by a wakeful period, devoted without a fuss to contemplation or chat or sex, if one has a partner, followed by another, shorter sleep.  My personal best now is about five hours ending with a pee, which wakes me up - not in bed!  I do get up. And then, if I don’t have a lot on my mind, I go back to sleep for two or three hours.  If I’m tired during the day, I take a nap (or two).  I can do that, of course, because I’m self-employed and my boss permits it.  I have read just recently that a 20 to 30-minute nap is equivalent to a couple of hours of night sleep, provided you sleep.  I do; I go into REM in my half-hour respites.

My father was a doctor and he had patients coming to him claiming that they hadn’t slept a wink all night.  No, he reassured them, they did sleep, more than they thought they did.  Unlike the experts today who tell you to get up and do something rather than lie there fussing, my father told them to go ahead and lie there. Even if they didn’t sleep at all, or thought they didn’t, they were getting bed rest.  Their bodies were resting even if their minds weren’t.  I like that.  

Breathing helps.