→ the importance of sleep

Why, exactly, are we so sleep-deprived? What has happened over the course of the last 75 years? In 1942, less than 8% of the population was trying to survive on six hours or less sleep a night; in 2017, almost one in two people is. The reasons are seemingly obvious. “First, we electrified the night,” Walker says. “Light is a profound degrader of our sleep. Second, there is the issue of work: not only the porous borders between when you start and finish, but longer commuter times, too. No one wants to give up time with their family or entertainment, so they give up sleep instead. And anxiety plays a part. We’re a lonelier, more depressed society. Alcohol and caffeine are more widely available. All these are the enemies of sleep.”

A great article on the importance of sleep: an adult sleeping only 6.75 hours a night would be predicted to live only to their early 60s without medical intervention.

📚 the boiling river

I recently finished The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in The Amazon—a TED book by Andrés Ruzo. I love the short format and interestingness of these books, this one was no exception.

“At a time when everything seems mapped, measured, and understood, this river challenges what we /think/ we know. It has forced me to question the line between known and unknown, ancient and modern, scientific and spiritual. It is a reminder that there are still great wonders to be discovered. We find them not just in the black void of the unknown but in the white noise of everyday life—in the things we barely notice, the things we almost forget, even in the detail of a story.”

“My headlamp concentrates my focus on the small area it illuminates and makes the darkness beyond seem impenetrable. I contemplate the marvels that must be out there, shrouded in darkness or hidden in the everyday. That is the lesson of the darkness: it is our perspective that draws the line between the known and the unknown, the sacred and the trivial, the things we take for granted and the things we have yet to discover.”

2017 flat lay

When we travel we create collections of things we think we’ll need. These collections of things are a snapshot in time and tell stories of ourselves: where we are in life and some challenges we face. Like the tennis balls I have joined together with duct-tape to roll along my ever-stiffening spine. Here’s what I’m taking (carry-on) to the US this weekend – top to bottom, left to right.

5F3C394B-59F0-423C-8249-80F6117035F1

  • A resistance band which helps me build shoulder strength through exercise.
  • Black Ray Ban wayfarers sunnies – the sunnies that everyone has and I don’t care – I’ve had these a few years and they’re still going strong
  • My 🇦🇺 Passport in an old Qantas toiletries case – I love these Jack Spade cases as they zip up and keep my passport and travel documents safe.
  • Toothpaste, tooth brush and some Coles medistrips in an old Qantas First class toiletries case that reminds me of that one time I got upgraded to First class from Sydney to LA 😍
  • Sukin facial scrub 50ml – my new favourite skincare brand – Australian, natural and reasonably priced
  • A year of the Rooster pendant Kitty gave me for this year
  • Some Rose quartz Kitty gave me when she went back into hospital
  • Voost multivitamins – I love how these are dissolvable in water
  • Qantas eye mask from a previous flight
  • Korjo travel umbrella – because it’s always raining somewhere
  • Rosehip face wipes from Kitty – why not
  • Two ‘calm’ cards from The School of Life
  • Underneath: a 2015 13” Apple MacBook Pro in a black Crumpler wetsuit sleeve (for when it wants to go 🏄 in winter)
  • On top: ‘Judge This’ a TED book, from my local library, from my new favourite book series (short and interesting books)
  • A double tennis ball to help un-stiffen my spine
  • A Crumpler zip case with US Apple chargers – I travel to the US enough now to have US Apple Chargers too
  • A single pack of Blink eye lid wipes someone recently gave me – might try these on the plane
  • Shaving cream – non-aerosol
  • Metamucil ‘trial’ sachets – perfect for long haul travel 👌🏻
  • The body shop mango body wash – also from Kitty
  • Mitchum roll on anti-perspirant – long lasting and good for travel too
  • An old disposable razor – I really should get a new one
  • An index card with a quote I like that I heard somewhere I can’t remember
  • A nail file: a brand new thing for me – I stopped biting my nails in May this year for the first time in my life so I actually have to maintain my nails now (which is kinda annoying)
  • 5 x vials of artificial tears – because you can never have too many tears 😭

camels!

Last Sunday we went on an afternoon drive to the scenic rim to visit Lake Moogerah for a picnic. On the way Kitty spotted a sign for a Camel Farm and Diary so we stopped on the way home, of course. Summer Land Camel Farm only opens Sundays from 9:30 to 4 and has a cafe and an area where you can get up close and feed the camels – we all loved it so much!

 

 

we tell stories to children for many reasons…

“We tell stories to children for many reasons, and if the goal is to teach them a moral lesson then one way to make the lesson more accessible to children is to use human characters. Yes, we should consider the diversity of story characters and the roles they are depicted in”

Patricia Ganea, from the University of Toronto on why having all the animals in most children’s books isn’t such a great idea after all.

mount mitchell (main range national park)

Mount Mitchell sits on the southern side of Cunningham’s Gap in the Main Range National Park. There are some excellent views of Mount Cordeau to the north whilst walking to the peak and the peak itself is a cosy rocky little area covered in grass trees with fantastic views East, South and West. I loved sitting up here and reading a book in the sun and having a cup of tea all to myself. A great walk with an awesome summit so would do it again 😊

Distance: 10.5km return
Time up: 1h:13m
Time down: 53m
Elevation: 1174m
Elevation Gain: 381m

buy experiences, not things

Over the past decade, an abundance of psychology research has shown that experiences bring people more happiness than do possessions.

Essentially, when you can’t live in a moment, they say, it’s best to live in anticipation of an experience. Experiential purchases like trips, concerts, movies, et cetera, tend to trump material purchases because the utility of buying anything really starts accruing before you buy it.

Waiting for an experience apparently elicits more happiness and excitement than waiting for a material good (and more “pleasantness” too—an eerie metric). By contrast, waiting for a possession is more likely fraught with impatience than anticipation.

source

A 8 year-old friend of junior pixels recently told him at school that our family doesn’t have many toys because we go on holidays all the time. I initially didn’t know what to think when I heard him recount this, but I am since proud of that fact.

petrichor

petrichor - 1

It hasn’t rained in Brisbane for a long time. This evening I was coming home and smelt petrichor and smiled: our new house is much closer to a large bushland reserve and the petrichor is more pungent.

What is petrichor you ask?

(pretrichor is) used to describe the distinct scent of rain in the air. Or, to be more precise, it’s the name of an oil that’s released from the earth into the air before rain begins to fall.

The word was invented by the CSIRO in Australia.

→ how can I make my life simpler?

Answered by Patrick Mathieson on Quora

  1. Have a routine that you use to start your day that becomes automatic and thoughtless.
  2. Selectively avoid tasks that you suspect may be unimportant.
  3. Reduce the number of ways people can reach you.
  4. Get comfortable not having an opinion on most things.
  5. Remember that in 200 years, it’s very likely that nobody alive will know that you ever existed

Worth a read.

Also this, and this, and this.

spring hill reservoirs: the weight of light

I’ve been fascinated by the Spring Hill Reservoirs in inner-city Brisbane for some time.

The first reservoir was built in 1871, and the second just metres from the first some eleven years after. Both were built primarily of red-brick and mortar, set in-ground. Interiors feature columns and arches between walls for reinforcement. At the time of planning, Spring Hill was considered to be the ideal location for a Brisbane water source, due to its elevation above most of what is now Brisbane CBD. Water was sourced from Enoggera Dam via gravity feed. They were built in 1871 and 1882 by Henry Holmes. They serviced water to what is now Brisbane City until 1962. Currently, the reservoirs are covered by three hut-like structures above ground. For many years the reservoirs were locked and inaccessible to the public. However, since 2014, they are used occasionally for cultural events.

I’ve been waiting for a ‘cultural event’ in the reservoirs so I was lucky enough to find out about a light exhibition by artist Meagan Streader, The Weight of Light, being held in the reservoirs.

So last Thursday we picked the boys up from school and visited the reservoirs at Spring Hill. I’m not sure what I was more impressed by: exploring centuries old underground reservoirs or the neon light art exhibition within the darkness. It was a very memorable experience – particularly as we were the only people in there initially.

I can’t wait to revisit – it seems there is another art installation planned for the reservoirs as part of Brisbane Open House on October 7 – that’s definitely on the must-do list!

yerra-bin king island

Yesterday we visited Wellington Point, about 30 minutes drive from Brisbane, for a family picnic. Just north of Wellington Point sits a small island known as ‘Yerra-bin’ or King Island. During a low tide you can walk across the sand bar to the island. Fortunately the tide was low and we walked over and back in time for a play at the playground and a cup of tea using our new family sized Thermos.

 

5 things I learned living in an unrenovated 1950s house

We’ve been living in an unrenovated 1950s house since May this year. Not only do we save lots of money on rent but we’ve discovered there’s actually some really cool things about old houses 😎

  1. Open plan is overrated – being able to close the doors between rooms – particularly when you have screaming kids – is a godsend
  2. You don’t need so many mirrors – modern houses have built-ins with full length mirrors galore – these aren’t necessary – just learn to look at yourself less
  3. Hanging ceiling lights are fantastic – we have different hanging lights in every room, heaps cooler than downlights which mean you can’t even change the bulb yourself
  4. Your house should be smaller than your garden – modern houses have this the opposite way around and it’s all wrong
  5. Shower curtains and a bath tub are easier than glass shower screens – it’s a pain to clean glass shower screens when shower curtains do the job well and you can just put them through the wash.

the first day of spring

I recently finished The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson (spoiler: the book’s title is a misminor: it’s actually about how to selectively give a fuck), and I found this quote particularly poignant:

“Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.
We shouldn’t seek to find the ultimate “right” answer for ourselves, but rather, we should seek to chip away at the ways that we’re wrong today so that we can be a little less wrong tomorrow.”

Today is my birthday. I always thought I was born on the first day of spring. The convention in Australia is spring begins on the first day of September. But I was was wrong. Spring technically doesn’t start until we reach the September equinox. An equinox is the moment in which the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the center of the Sun’s disk, which occurs twice each year, around 20 March and 23 September. On an equinox, day and night are of approximately equal duration all over the planet.

So in this year 2017, in Australia, spring begins around 8am on the 23rd of September, not today. I was born in winter after all 🙁

walk the walk

“There are lots of things you could probably do to improve your life. You could make more money, for instance, or travel more, or write more, or be a better friend, or get one of those vacuum cleaners that cleans your house while you’re out throwing your head back laughing at after-work cocktails in a nicely ironed shirt, the sleeve of which you hitch up when your expensive watch reminds you to circulate so you can get home in time to do all the right things to be perfect again the next day.

On the other hand, you could just do this: go for a walk. Nothing quite like a nice walk to really turn things around. Okay, alright, it’s not going to fix everything. It might not fix anything. And okay, alright, if you’re crook or you can’t walk or are indisposed or it’s the middle of the night, it doesn’t even need to be an actual walk. Do the next best thing. Go to the window and look out of it.”

~ Lorin Clarke, Walk the Walk, The Big Issue #543