RSS Feed

Tag Archives: seasonal affective disorder

Impress your friends with a winter ice cream treat!

Got some friends held hostage by Trump’s demands? Host an ice cream party with your neighbors/community and find out what they need help with! Could be a group temporary loan, some sneakers for their kids or a ride to the doctor or church. Ice cream and commiserating also help if financial resources are unavailable.

Here in Alaska, WE LOVE ICE CREAM! Baked Alaska is basically an imitation of melting permafrost! But have I got a treat for you!  I served it last night after running/jogging a ridiculous 5k in zero degrees. It was such an Alaskan experience. They lent me used Ice Bug shoes to run in, just in case I wanted to purchase some later. Icebugs are shoes with screws in the bottom and they were absolutely outstanding.  I usually just wear strap on spikes but they constrict my shoes and also fall off randomly on bumps.  I am scared to see how much these Icebugs cost but was assured by a friend that they also have a guy at the store who will just drill some spikes into any of my old running shoes.

There was no real group start at the race. People just moseyed off and we followed them hoping we had the right turn around spot since there were only about 20 of us running in the dark. The cocoa and the free tee shirts from runs which happened 10 years ago were appreciated.

Anyway here is the ice cream.

icecream

This is what you do to make it even more delicious. Make some mini pancakes. Put  this delicious ice cream on top and drizzle with maple syrup. You could serve these at a restaurant and charge $8 and people would be loving it. But then I am someone who can eat a pancake anytime of the day.   I guess I would call this a  “Maple Heap”, ( you could even sprinkle chopped up maple sugar soldiers or put a Canadian sugar Maple leaf on top).   Perhaps marketing it as a “Vermont Landscape” – Maples and cows or “Over the River and through the Woods?” How about a classy French name like “Un Miracle Erable?”

The taste is like Christmas morning or Apres Ski in New England.  I don’t recommend it in the summer as it would be too sticky but you could eat it while watching “White Christmas” or “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

If we fed President Trump one of these he would forget about his damn wall for a minute and say, “Outstanding!”   If he ate a couple of gallons he might even pass on to eternity.

We eat lots of ice cream in Alaska because of the fat. I am skinny but I like to have a small roll of fat on my stomach just in case I need to avoid being the first one in a group to freeze to death. I would rather not be cannibalized but if I must be at least let me have something besides bone and sinew for my friends to feed on.

It is refreshingly cold today as well. Minus something. Nothing impressive. Minus twenty is the threshold for no physical exertion if unnecessary.  We are not there yet.  Tomorrow I go back to work from my mini staycation. It has been a great chance to meditate on my post holiday Seasonal affective disorder and my positive response to increased outdoor time and exposure to friends. I highly recommend these to anyone with emotional fatigue. And ice cream!

 

Advertisements

How to keep the holidays real

When it comes to the holidays how we  “keep”  them can be connected to a deep or superficial set of beliefs. This includes beliefs about who we are. Here are some beliefs which influence how I spend the holidays. Let’s get the negative ones out of the way first. It’s a short list but sometimes powerful enough to discourage me from enjoying what can be a very fun time of year.

Negative Beliefs which are probably not based in fact

  1.  I am a misfit. I don’t have the energy for this.  I’m depressed. I can’t figure out what I want to do for the holidays.

2.   Holidays are for families with young children. I am out of place at holiday events. Something is wrong with me because I don’t have a spouse or children. I’m an adult. I should act like one.

3.   This holiday is just manufactured to make me spend money.

Reality checks

  1.  I am unique and I have unique gifts which aren’t always “as advertised on television.” I have to watch my energy but if I only do a few things for the holiday I will enjoy them. I do get depressed when it’s dark and there is no snow but I am also creative enough that I don’t need the weather to be as I want it in order to have a good time.  Many people don’t know what they are going to do for the holidays so they go with the flow. Others feel trapped by traditions and obligations they would rather avoid. I can try something new every year just to mix it up.

2.   It’s not productive to hide my joy under a bucket. I might as well go out and share it. If I set an example that older women can have just as much fun as young folks then maybe someone else will feel empowered. There are many reasons I am single. Being in a relationship and having children is not something everyone gets to do. Live with it.

3.   Holidays can be corrupted by capitalism but someone has to keep the faith whether that’s faith in good cheer and charity or in Jesus or Santa. Halloween doesn’t have to be sexy for me. Christmas can be small. The winter solstice can involve an outdoor challenge.

How I keep it real

Spending time with people is more important than exchanging objects. It’s also nice to make gifts and shopping with a friend can be fun. Don’t beat myself up over gift giving. I can’t make other people happy.

Use winter as a time to clean out garbage, do research on my future. Do something creative most days. That includes making dinner.

Give to people who need it, not just out of obligation. Don’t measure gifts in terms of money spent but rejoice when I serendipitously have a part in getting someone to laugh or get out of their comfort zone.

Decorate, sing, bake. These are activities from my childhood which bring me joy.  Share this joy when possible, and also enjoy my own company. Share with the neighborhood.

Remember if people in Poland can hang their Christmas trees upside down then I can make up my own way to celebrate.

I am on the hunt for some old holiday “blow Mold” decorations that are more often seen on the East Coast, probably a snowman like one of these.

snowman2snowman5snowman3snowman6snowman8

You might think, ” These snowmen don’t look very REAL.” But to me, the joy they elicit is real even though they are made of plastic and they are very low maintenance as far as men go. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

Tis the Season to SCREAM!!

The clocks are going forward which is SO stupid in Alaska where most of us have seasonal affective disorder. It’s going to be pitch black when the school bus comes no matter what time you call it. It’s also going to be cold and for some children, way up North, there will be polar bears waiting to eat them at their bus stops.

The only redeeming aspect of this weekend is Halloween. Most kids will go to malls or well orchestrated Halloween Townes or Trail events.  But we still have some old school ghouls with their porch lights on. One family in Mountain View has their home open as a Haunted House this weekend.  My roommate and I have put our unit on The Trick or Treat Map and are almost through decorating. Sad to say, I am almost through the first THREE POUND bag of Halloween candy as well. Here are some photos of the yard. Nothing was purchased  except the $3.50 zombie head, which I decorated myself.

zombie.jpg

This next guest is a favorite of mine. My roommate created it and it has a seat of honor right by the door. I am using gender neutral language because even though it looks like a chicken, I don’t want to make assumptions.

chick.jpg

This creature reminds me of the  Malcolm McDowell film, “O Lucky Man,” which featured the following result from an advertisement for paid participants in medical research.

sheep

A not so lucky man!

We also have other obscure guests on our porch.

trio.jpg

Yes, that is a rat with a rotten banana. How about a grave with ketchup?

cross.jpg

That is a stake, not a steak which I believe is more commonly associated with ketchup. On the subject of scary food, how about a really obnoxious orange tree?

orange.jpg

My roommate made an excellent sign for us since we live in The Valley of The Moon.

doom.jpg

We do our best with very little cash but I did buy one of those laser lights that you see on TV which make it look like there are fireflies everywhere. I consider it a great investment as it works for Christmas as well as for indoor parties. Now I will never have to hang lights again.  Hanging lights is not my forte. The ones you see on the window above were originally hung by me but I caught my roommate rehanging them so they would be more artistic. I am messy but Halloween can be messy, I hope. At least as messy as election season.

Maybe that’s why my seasonal affective disorder is so bad this year.  I’ve lived here a little too long. I need some more adventures that don’t involve being cold, wet, or  the online dating of Republicans. Perhaps I will put the zombie as my primary photo on OK Cupid. I seem to peek the interest of men in Florida. Does that mean that only really inaccessible men like me? or are people in Florida more likely to fantasize about the cold? I don’t fantasize about Florida. I dream of a state with less expensive health insurance and a few less Right wing zealots.  .

Please feel free to stop by my house this Halloween. I only get a few trick or treaters. I mostly decorate to keep my recovery strong. After all, there is no better time to be obsessed with death and doom! Except, once again, election day.

Enough with the Salted Caramel!!!!

I did a search for Salted Caramel condoms today and all I could  find was this.

Looks like Ghiradelli's but it's not!

Looks like Ghiradelli’s but it’s not!

The salted caramel thing is just something for me to rant about because I’m currently unemployed and a little anxious. Sugar, salt and fat- that’s all salted caramel is.  It tastes good like bacon but it’s not probably as good for you.  People just keep thinking up things for us to get addicted to.  Crack flavored Pringles, Methyl amphetamine Oreos. Then there’s these.

Overkill!

Overkill!

These are just scraps – stuff left from the edges of the baking pan that have been fried in butter and salted.  I have not tried them because I like soft brownies which are not covered with crap to disguise the poor texture or lack of real chocolate in the recipe.

I have a bad case of seasonal affective disorder.  I moved to Alaska for economic opportunity but that was in the dark ages before the internet. I did not know that darkness could eat away at the human brain.  I love working seasonal summer jobs which means I have to find a new job in the fall, just when I feel worse for having this kind of a seesaw brain. Perhaps I just hate myself?  What is there really to hate about salted caramel?  It surely will become a hair color, house paint and tint for merino wool sweaters in the next few years.

It’s enough to drive me to drink, but you know where this is going.

It's artisanal as well

It’s artisanal as well

You knew there would be salted caramel vodka, along with the Captain Crunch and Fruit Loops flavors. This next one made me sad though.

NOOOOOO!

NOOOOOO!

Can it really be Bailey’s if it’s salted caramel? Why not Pumpkin Spice for Halloween and Peppermint for Christmas? There is no salted caramel holiday and will never be one if I have anything to do with it.

And if you are on the wagon

Is using salted caramel ice cream to make a float with salted caramel root beer overkill?

Is using salted caramel ice cream to make a float with salted caramel root beer overkill?

At least it’s made with real sugar!

Yes I am miserable. It’s Monday and everyone is back at work but I’m also not miserable because I needed a rest and I found a recipe for salted caramel chocolate oreo pie which I WILL NOT show you a photo of because it is just too decadent. All right if you insist,

Dark-Chocolate-Salted-Caramel-Oreo-Pie-Recipe-03

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dessert/dark-chocolate-salted-caramel-oreo-pie.html

It’s just oreos (With BUTTER) for the crust, Brown sugar, whipping cream and BUTTER for the filling then chocolate chips and whipping cream for the top covered in salt.  I don’t think most chocolate chips are made with butter, probably some even more unhealthy fat stuff and isn’t whipping cream just un-whipped butter?  This looks like a very easy way to kill yourself. I could serve it with Salted Caramel Baileys hot chocolate and die. Then I won’t have to worry about finding a job. I have a trip to see family scheduled so don’t worry, I’m not going to off myself by mixing alcohol, sugar, salt and butter just yet. Now I can get back to worrying whether I will get a job offer then have to tell them about my trip.

How not to let Winter in Alaska DESTROY you!

I’ve lived in Anchorage for 14 winters but I lived in New England for 25 winters so this is not news  I have depression and anxiety which becomes worse in the cold and dark.  I was up last night with insomnia and counted off the times I almost got beaten by the beast. I’m writing this to remind myself that I can make it through and so can you. Please assist me by adding your ideas in the comments.

1. Stop trying to WORK so hard!  Tis the season for good cheer. No one wants to have their attendance record and productivity listed on their gravestone. Hell, they don’t even give out gold watches for that stuff anymore. People tend to like relaxed people. Even bosses don’t want more worries.One good deed or interaction a day is worth more than 20 desperate panicked ones. But I can use the panicked ones as fodder for my blog. Go slowly and in peace, although a good holler is healthy when slipping on the ice. In the spirit of Christmas, I just bought a shirt with this logo online.

Calmness - good! Humor - more likely!

Calmness – good!
Humor – more likely!

2. It is not all in my control!  Did you know that cold weather makes our muscles clench? This in turn makes us warmer but if we are already kind of a tight ass this can make us even less flexible physically and emotionally.  I trip and fall in all seasons because I’m rushing around. I bounce more in the warm weather.  I’m more brittle, like rubber and plastic are, in the cold.  I could wear more padding. Accepting the sense of it makes me feel that no matter how many yoga classes I am advised to take, it’s in the nature of things.  Please don’t tell me to relax! Help me to relax by telling me a funny story or giving me the gift of kindness.

Increased hours of darkness make leaves fall from trees and animals hibernate. Before the electric light, many of us  would not been able to live the lives we live, let alone do the work we do. We would have depended upon daylight.  The few things I do accomplish each day are part of an electric miracle. Any work done under the influence of electricity counts as overtime!

Are you sure they don't interfere with sleep?

Are you sure they don’t interfere with sleep?

3.  Eat! Get out! DO NOT SKIP LUNCH OR EAT AT DESK IN ORDER TO LEAVE EARLY!  It’s still going to be dark when I leave no matter what I do.  I have to get out at lunch in order to get my vitamin D. I do this in the summer as well.  I may have a walk or a jog but I’m not going to eat at my desk.  Everyday I get vacation time before work, at lunch and after work.  I’m the queen of delayed gratification (work through lunch for early departure)  but in doing so I spend the last couple of hours at work in a state of resentment, too tired and hungry to get anything done.  I can go for a short jog and eat snacks all day if I want but somehow I feel that should work the way everyone else does, or looks like they do. I’m sure they spend more time on their cell phones than I do because I don’t know how to work mine. Live a life of abundance. There will always be work left for tomorrow!

If this is what abundance looks like I'm not sure I can handle it.

If this is what abundance looks like I’m not sure I can handle it.

Some less philosophical advice. Go to every party  to which you are invited. (except ones which cost money). Bring food, eat food, dance, sing.  Get out at least once a week with friends, preferably twice. Read and write. Only watch television on Sunday nights when The Good Wife and Madame Secretary are on and maybe Thursdays when Mom and Elementary have new episodes.  Most of the problems of the world are not going to be solved by me but I can work on the ones that are made by me. Have a good holiday season and  remind me to post at least once a week this winter, for my own health!

The Art of Balance and other Baloney

Image

I am the very model of a modern major general

I  do believe in balance and I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do. I also have eaten bologna though it doesn’t taste good to me anymore. Fluffernutters taste good but I was born in Massachusetts so I guess it’s in my genes. I strive for balance but it’s a bit like trying to work on serenity, the effort is counter productive. As a human I am subject to change. I am seasonal, hormonal and  a bit of an eccentric cowardly individual yet I yearn for the idea of stability.

Today I felt all out of sorts. I haven’t really slept well for three nights. I’m sure I slept a bit because I had some anxiety dreams about escaping some bad guys in a construction pit, I was trapped like the steam shovel Mary Anne.  I’m out of balance and I can’t force myself back. I get to enjoy my lack of balance and am doing so by writing while eating mini peanut butter cups. I got the medium size package because the bargain one was so large I could imagine using it as a saddlebag and the small one added up to over $8 a pound and that’s just not right! So I guess I’m subconsciously balancing desire with caloric and monetary expense.

I used to sleep so well. Probably because I was not menopausal and I was so out of balance – sanding and refinishing floors all day then  rehearsing for plays and going running in my spare time. Exhaustion was the key to my rest. That’s probably not right either.

I ran yesterday and am preparing for an audition and am exhausted now but still no sleep. My therapist suggested it was seasonal affective disorder which make sense as I live in Alaska. I took a trip to Louisiana in early December and took lots of walks in the sunny-ish weather.   My therapist’s theory, which sounds right, is that I felt good  until the dose wore off. I took some extra strength tylenol  an hour ago but still not even a yawn.  I could have skipped the peanut butter cups but I had already laid in bed for 45 minutes so I just gave up and decided to have fun.

In Louisiana I saw some statues in a garden of a place called The Shadows. Before it became a national landmark it was owned by an artist. It was obvious that this home was built and maintained by slave labor but that was not dwelled on. The tour presentation was unbalanced so I bought a copy of Twelve Years a Slave at the gift shop as it takes place in this part of Louisiana.  The statues represent the seasons although I would guess if one was a slave, the seasons might be represented a bit differently. But that’s another story.

Image

I’m pretty sure this guy is winter. He doesn’t look like he’s embraced ice skating or x-country skiing like I have.  He’s embracing himself so he doesn’t freeze under that stone blanket. I know that Louisiana has different winters than Alaska but they still serve a purpose in that they balance out their really hot summers. They give time for the sugar cane harvest, ( done by big machines and factories now),   an opportunity to eat Satsumas and really HOT food.

Image

I was thinking that this one is fall because of the wheat. I would like to say that I’m not depressed in fall but that’s not so. I’m kind of depressed all the time but in fall I sleep lots. The end of summer has come and I do too much and sometimes fall in bed after work unable to eat dinner. I sometimes make room for some carbohydrates and a run or a bike ride.  But a balanced meal – no.  I tend to eat soup in the winter but it all seemed too much today. Couldn’t even open a can let alone chop vegetables.

Image

Spring, with flowers? At first I thought she was pregnant but that would be fitting for spring as well.  I usually run a triathlon in the spring to jump start my summer. That means I can be a little miserable training although lately I just try to relax and hope that my heart doesn’t stop going up a hill.  Best not to get too hyper.

Image

Summer, I presume holds a wealth of flowers. I love summer. I bike to work, I look for love. I’m not very contemplative and wear outrageous outfits. Okay, maybe I wear the outfits all the time, just adding tights in the winter.

What I get from the statues is that  seasons are part of my nature and I might as well embrace them. If I lived on the equator, I bet I could still discern a rainy season from a dry hot one just like we have real cold up here in winter, cold in spring and fall and just coolness in the summer. I can’t force myself to sleep or be serene and no matter how far I run or how much I write or meditate, I sometimes just have to live with what I’ve got.   I shouldn’t even force myself to go to work 5 days a week when I can’t sleep but then it becomes apparent that I’m not the very model of a modern major general. I’m a mess. Well, the world is a mess from what I can see, so in a way, I fit in despite my wacky outfits.

So while a lay awake tonight with all the parents of small children, the people with painful illnesses and those who just don’t know why they can’t sleep, I will embrace this season of my life and all the baloney that comes with it, even if it doesn’t taste so great.