th-1Seasonal affective disorder has hit hard this year. Despite the aptly named S.A.D. light I’ve been eyebrow-deep in doldrums.

Having battled depression and anxiety in the past I can say the past weeks feel both familiar and different.

The glumness is just as I recall it: a cement straitjacket that impedes my ability to move, let alone achieve much. What’s new, and worrisome, is that I’m having a devil of a time talking myself down from it.

In years past I got through the season – heck, through my life – thanks to the sheer number of Things That Must Be Done. Should those things not have gotten done I would have been letting someone down: my child, my then-husband, my employer, my friends.

Or I’d do what I privately think of as a Full Pollyanna and create my own personal glad game. Just look at what I’ve got going for me: a daughter I love, health (mostly), family, friends, a job I love (mostly), a roof over my head, plenty to eat, etc. etc.

Generally that worked, either because it made me realize how lucky I was or because it embarrassed me off the self-pity path. Hasn’t worked lately, even though I can add astounding midlife love to the plus side of the ledger.

In fact, it’s made me feel worse. To be clear: I’m fully aware of how blessed I am. It’s just that sometimes none of those blessings can get through the fog. As Sinclair Lewis put it, “It has not yet been recorded that any human being has gained a very large or permanent contentment from meditation upon the fact that he is better off than others.”


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IMG_20151210_113500This week’s giveaway achieves two of my favorite goals: supporting the local economy and helping readers finish up their holiday shopping.

I only wish that my meh-photography did justice to the two pendants up for grabs this week. They’re quite striking and hand cut- and hammered by my friend Linda B.

She started by cutting two disks of aluminum: one a deep maroon and the other a vibrant violet. Onto each she riveted a five-armed, gear-like circle that makes the pendants look, at first glance, like sheriffs’ badges or combat medals.

The colors below seem richer, possibly because you’re seeing them in concentrated glimpses. The overlays give a suggestion of motion that I like to think of as, “Hey — get your life in gear and start moving!”

Know anyone who needs an accessory with a built-in kick in the pants? Or maybe you need it yourself.

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thA while back I put up a post called “Ask me (almost) anything,” in which I said I’d answer reader questions. Not all of them, mind you, but some of them.

I meant it, too. But you’ll notice I never said how soon I’d do it.

Now, three months later, I’m taking on three queries for starters. They’re fairly softball-ish questions, but I’m pretty tuckered out right now as I wind down the contracting gig.

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th-1We’re in a subzero cold snap that should last at least a few more days. The temperature was eight below when I got up and managed to make it only four degrees above the zero-mark before shivering its  way back down the thermometer.

But I don’t care (much), because the house smells so good.

After DF had his lunch he filled the five-quart West Bend slow cooker with the contents of the boiling bag, some vegetable cooking water from the freezer and the water left from last night’s boiled potatoes.

(That last included little bits of spud because I got distracted and let them boil perhaps a bit too long.)

This time around the boiling bag contained carrot tops, apple cores, the tough ends of romaine leaves, onion skins, potato peelings and a handful of very small, very green tomatoes from the greenhouse project. Although all of the bigger tomatoes and some of the smaller ones eventually turned red after we brought them indoors, the little ones were stubbornly bright-green and beginning to soften. Thus we sacrificed them to the soup and are already dreaming of next spring.


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Frigid frozen feet.

Recently DF and I attended “My Fair Lady,” the frugal way: I was reviewing, so we got two free tickets. (You can read the review at the Alaska Dispatch News if you like.)

When we finally went to bed my feet were, as usual, freezing. The rest of me felt fine but my toes were 10 little icicles. This led to us joking about a rewrite of “The Street Where You Live,” one of the more romantic songs from the musical.

In case you don’t know the tune, here’s a clip from the film version:


Got it? Now, on to the DF-written parody, “The Sheets At the Foot of the Bed”:


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