Can’t get no sleep

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 I didn’t sleep well last night.

Now for a change the cause of my restless night wasn’t an over active attention seeking child, but this is often the case, nor was it the neighbours alarm, or an over amorous wife, wasn’t even an amorous wife to be honest. The cause was my over active mind, rehearsing and modifying a speech for Toastmasters  while I tried to settle myself to sleep.

I headed to bed last night around 11 after getting the kids settled, house tidied up and relaxed a bit watching TV. I was tired walking up the stairs, yesterday was a busy day, but as soon as I lay down. BANG! Wide awake again, despite almost falling asleep at 7 when I brought my son to bed, now my brain filled, and then again this morning before 6 I was wide awake I was remunerating the words of the speech, checking I remembered it, wondering about humour, stance, gestures would I be able to pull it off, would I remember it all, would I spend half the speech looking at my feet trying to remember what comes next.

How would I handle memory lapses which inevitably happen… Now like many I have suffered from insomnia on and off over the years. I not only have difficulty getting to sleep at times but I also would wake during the night sometimes for what feels like hrs. I know when I woke this morning after a while I checked the clock and it was 4.01 am, and after at least 2 hrs had passed I checked again and it was 4:05.

Now maybe its’ partially because I use to get up at 5:30 am and would survive on only 5-6 hrs sleep a night. So I got use to surviving on little sleep between work commitments, study and especially over recent years restless, teething kids.  

I had lots of other people, leaders to look towards who seemed to survive and thrive on little sleep. Margaret Thatcher, Bill Clinton, Madonnna, even our own Bill Cullen have professed the advantages of sleeping only 4-6 hrs per night.

But I’ve now learnt about that sleep is not an indulgence, One of the things that the brain does is indulge in micro-sleeps, this involuntary falling asleep, and you have essentially no control over it. Now, micro-sleeps can be sort of somewhat embarrassing, but they can also be deadly.

So when you’re tired, and you lack sleep, you have poor memory, you have poor creativity, you have increased impulsiveness, and you have overall poor judgment. Which explains why I need to find new people to look up to as leaders.

Now not everybody suffers with a lack of sleep, Suzanne Harrington from the Irish Independent, bestowed her wisdom, in an article last September. She reckons that we can solve our sleep problems by making a few lifestyle changes.

Vigorous exercise is recommended, and do you know what… sometimes it works and sometimes I sit thinking that I really need to make a proper training plan, how can I squeeze in another run during the week, how can I get away with getting another run in during the week?

I also tried Yoga, there’s a great app on my phone which shows all the different positions and takes you through a Yoga work out. But then my daughter seen me doing it during the day and wanted to join in, which is grand in theory… if you have the time to explain all the positions and make her happy by checking that she is doing them right. When I did work out in the evening when she had gone to bed I was getting strange looks from my wife, and also the neighbours as they were walking by the house.

Now I have cut out caffeine in the evenings, at least from my tea and I have a good book, in fact I have quite a few good books. I’ve had to stop buying newspapers during the week in an attempt to get around to reading some of these good books, but with housework, TV, facebook and Blogs I hardly get any time to read a good book. In fact I tell you the problem with this “a good book” idea, my wife and daughter love to read a good book before bed. My daughter has been known to read 3 good books before, we stop her, take the books away and try and get her to sleep. Only to find her half an hr later still awake thinking about this exciting good book that she has been reading and wants to discuss it with you.

Meditation doesn’t work for me, my mind keeps wondering off to other things, speeches, conversations and the only other suggestion Suzanne has is orgasm… don’t see that happening too often, I’m a married man!

So it seems that I’m a little stuck because I enjoy technology, TV, the stress of preparing a speech and everything else that life brings. At least some nights I manage to get a decent nights sleep, without interruption… but maybe not tonight.


The Importance of Being Earnest

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“Jack?… No, there is very little music in the name Jack, if any at all, indeed. It does not thrill. It produces absolutely no vibrations… I have known several Jacks, and they all, without exception, were more than usually plain. Besides, Jack is a notorious domesticity for John! And I pity any woman who is married to a man called John. She would probably never be allowed to know the entrancing pleasure of a single moment’s solitude. The only really safe name is Earnest”
This how Gwendolen responds when Jack Worthing hopes that his beloved would consider loving him by another name in Oscar Wildes Play the importance of being Ernest.
It’s a play which identifies in a small way the critical role that names have on our lives. We all have one but we don’t usually get to pick it and the choice of name given to each of us has a profound impact on our personality and our lives.
Some of us have had the pleasure of having children, and we’ll often pick the name based on personal preference or family history. My wife and I don’t have a great history of naming kids after people in our family, but we do have some strict criteria on which we base our personal preferences. To make it onto the short list we must like how it sounds, our experience of the name, and its meaning.
Firstly it is important that we like the sound of a name, it mustn’t be too long, no rhyming; Ann McCann, was a no-no and it can’t be messed with too much.
But that’s not the end of it; you also have to consider what their friends and not-so friends might call them in the future; would you call your Ginger haired son Garrett, only to spend years in school called Garrett the Carrot?
 And I’m not alone in doing this…
Research in Sweden has found that parents are picking names for their kids based on where they would like to see them as adults, Vilda as for a artistic performer, William for a future CEO and Henry for that Nobel Prize winner they are raising.
In the UK an adoption agency whistleblower found that children were not being adopted by middle class parent because they don’t want to adopt children who are named after someone’s favorite celebrity or tipple, misspelt jewels, or other names which mark the children out for their whole lives as being from a peculiarly British underclass.
It’s not a new phenomena, in 1983 research in the US found that college students with unusual or unique names were disproportionately among those who experienced academic failure, or who had personal adjustment problems, these unusual names we less frequent in professionals, and more likely to be unpopular among their peers however they were more likely to end up in Who’s Who.
So how the name sounds is important, not just because I need to like it.
Then we need to consider our own actual experience of the names, ex-girlfriends or boyfriends is out, it’s a bit too creepy. Then there are names associated with scandals or horrific news stories that we wouldn’t want the child to be linked with, like Bertie, Charlie, Richie or Edna.


And finally we need to consider the meaning of the name. Some 1982 research suggested that a person’s self perception and personality are related to behavioural expectations and stereotypes based in their name.
My own name for example is an ancient Irish name, meaning charioteer or son of Corb, Gráinne likewise is another ancient Irish name borne by Diarmaid’s lady and by the O’Malley sea queen, any relation? Aidan means little fire, Susan is a Hebrew name meaning lily-grace.
However not all names are as nice as they sound Neasa derives from the wife of Cathbad whose name was originally Assa meaning Gentle, until she took up arms to defend her people against him, her name was changed to Ní Assa, “Not Gentle”.
The meaning must also fit the child; you wouldn’t call a black haired baby Ruadhán or Finnian which mean “Red haired” and “Fair Haired” respectively.
 Deluzain identified that we are all consumers of names, and we have a need and right to know about the psychological, magical, legal, religious and ethnic aspects of our names.
So you can see that picking a child’s name for my wife and I at least, is not a simple matter of picking a name out of a hat, it is important to consider how it sounds, our experience of the name and its meaning.
Now you may like Lady Bracknell accuse me of displaying signs of triviality, however as Jack would reply: “on the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”

Continental lunch breaks

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When I was working for different employers over the years I have at times envied those continental lunch breaks that we hear of the French, Italian and Spanish people enjoying. Now wither they really get them or not in this modern world economy I doubt but being able to spend time having a nice starter and then leisurely having a nice main meal and the desert, tea or coffee sounds rather appealing. These would be spread over 2-3 hrs with ample time for digestion and conversation.

Now a days I too get to “enjoy” a 3 hr lunch break. I go out to collect DS1 from the crèche at 12 and have a banana on the way down, when I get back I make him his lunch and make a sandwich or soup myself, then naturally DS2 wakes up for a feed before I’ve eaten and since he is starving looking for a bottle I do that, cleanup his nappy and the mess that DS1 had made in the mean one eating his lunch and settle back down to have my sandwich and if lucky a yogurt. By then it’s time to go for DD and an apple is the snack this time on the way down an finally at around 3:30 I manage to get that all important cup of tea. While I try to get home works done and feed DS2 some lunch. Some times the tea is even still warm by the time I get to drink it.

The conversation is equally engaging, generally it’s “pick that up! Don’t leave your yogurt lid on the sofa!” and “come on will you please put your coat on!!!!”

Not quite the leisurely continental lunch I had imagined but some of the time it is certainly more entertaining.

Dashing Dad

Running around, running, and looking good

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