Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Signs of Life, in the Dead of Winter

Even in the coldest weeks of the year, nature persists. If you're an optimist like me, you can take it as a sign that old Groundhog was wrong, and Spring is on the way early.

Monday, February 23, 2009


This weekend I caught up on my scrapbooking -- finishing up my first book with two pages of photos from August, and starting a new book with Christmas 2008. This week I'll catch up with our trip to New York last month, and Valentines photos.


Last week I finished up my first full scarf. It was very easy, using a Knifty Knitter loom and the fluffiest non-wool yarn I could find. I'm a very imprecise crafter. I don't like to measure or count stitches, and I don't want to spend a lot of time reading about how to do something before I get started. I like to jump right in and experiment. So loom knitting works well for me. Here are a few shots of the finished product.

Next up -- a matching hat.

Jiggity Jog

Have you ever noticed that some days have themes that keep popping up from seemingly unrelated sources?

Today, two blogs I read regularly and that are linked in the column at the right -- May December and Mennonno sapiens both titled their posts "Home again, home again, Jiggity Jig". Elsewhere, Julia recently posted her notes from a Boskone panel on Fairy Tales. And, more locally, I just ate half a bag of mini cadbury eggs and am feeling a little like a pig.

So, giving in with the theme of the day, here's a little mother goose:

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig.
Home again, home again, jiggety jig.
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again, jiggety jog.
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

Friday, February 6, 2009

8am Assault - just another day on the mbta

I guess I’m not the only one feeling the affects of the winter blahs because this morning on my ride into work I was attacked by a complete stranger.

I took the bus into Alewife (too cold to brave the walk) on time and finding the train mostly empty, settled into a clean seat to read my book. I guess passengers continued to stream in, until after 10 minutes or so of waiting, when the conductor announced the train on the opposite track would be leaving the station first. I hadn’t noticed a large crowd gathering, but as I grabbed my stuff and crossed to the other track people were running ahead in a mass to get good seats. Fortunately, I somehow popped in through an door with an empty seat right beside it. Feeling lucky, I inspected the seat for gum, and was turning around to sit when suddenly a woman rushed in UNDERNEATH ME and sat in the seat! She gave me a shove with her arm and hate lasers shot out of eyes. I said something like “Whoa!” and backed away before she could whip out a knife. She continued to stare at me, like a ferrell animal ready to bite. The odd thing was the train car still had plenty of open seats – including two directly beside the one she’d just pushed me for.

Now, I’m not going to say I’ve never encountered hostility over an open seat on a train, but 8am is a little early in the day for violence. And we’re talking about the first stop on the train here, with plenty of still open seats. This is not Park Street 5:30pm with the weekly medical emergency/broken train/schedule shenanigans; there’s no call for that kind of anger. Besides, it’s Friday. Whatever happened to TGIF?

So I ended up opting out of not just that car, but that whole train. Who knows what she’d do by the time we got to Harvard Square and the car was really packed? There's a "medical emergency" or sure. Instead I went back over to the other, now empty, train for a more comfortable ride and a few extra minutes with my book. My heart rate was back to normal by the time we reached Davis, and the rest of my commute was easy peasy, but I still find it really disturbing that she had the nerve to shove me. What gets into people?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

SAD Update

It’s been a few weeks now since I put myself on high alert for Seasonal Depression. In terms of mood I’m definitely doing well still, but I have noticed myself exhibiting some of the other symptoms of the disorder.

Here’s how I’ve done at following my own guidelines for staying mental-healthy:

Waking up 30 minutes early to journal in front of a full spectrum light
At first this was really difficult because I was having trouble getting to sleep at night, and then didn’t want to lose that half hour of sleep in the morning. But, this week I’m doing better and I find the headstart does help the rest of my day. (5/10)

Going to the gym 5 days a week
I’ve done really well at this. I take a gym bag to work with me and then just stop on my way home. Tuesday I even stopped on my way back after having dinner with a friend. (10/10)

Avoiding carbs and eating plenty of proteins and vegetables
This one I’ve only done so-so with. Breakfast and lunch have been ok most days, but for dinner I’ve almost always had something sugary or carb loaded. For a few days I was eating almond butter right out of the jar with a stick of dark chocolate. You can’t even imagine how delicious that was. But healthy? no. (2/10)

Making sure to take a break from work between 10 and 2 to get natural light
I’m about half and half on this one. This week has been a stressful one at work, and I don’t want to be away from my desk in case a last minute item shows up and has to be uploaded to our system. Next week things should slow down though. (5/10)

Taking a muli-vitamin every day

Getting full 7.5-8 hours sleep each night (but no more)
Most nights it’s been either 7 hours or 10. I need to watch this one more (3/10)

Making at least 2 plans each week to get together with friends
:) (10/10)

Taking a walk each weekend –
No weekend walks, but I have started walking to the train station instead of taking the bus in the morning. That means a 20 minute walk outdoors every day when I need it most. I’ll give myself half credit for that. (5/10)

Total 50/80 = about 63%

But is it working? Here’s how I’d rate my symptoms currently (Symptoms as according to FamilyDoctor.org, a website that I’ve never used before, and basically am only citing because they conveniently listed the symptoms with bullet points so I didn’t have to read the whole article, so don’t judge me if it turns out they’re a front for scientology or something):

A change in appetite, especially a craving for sweet or starchy foods
I haven’t been craving sweet or starchy, but I’ve been craving greasy pizza every day. SAD score - 7/10

Weight gain
No weight gain per se, but I have been going to the gym 5-6 days a week and haven’t lost weight, so maybe that counts. SAD score – 5/10

A drop in energy level
Not too much of this so far. I think this is where the gym visits and forced daylight are coming into play. SAD Score - 1/10

Today I’m coming down with a cold, but the fatigue isn’t any worse than my usual cold/flu sleepiness. SAD Score – 2/10

A tendency to oversleep
Saturday and Sunday I’ve been sleeping in LATE, but during the week I’ve managed to get up on time or early and to get to work on time. SAD Score – 3/10

Difficulty concentrating
Here’s the biggie, and despite my best efforts every day I get more distracted. SAD Score – 8/10

Irritability and anxiety
I haven’t been especially anxious, but I have been snappish and irritable. When I’m alone I feel fine and good moodish, but I can tell by the walking-on-eggshells voice Greg has been using with me lately and the way that somebody on the bus inevitably ticks me off on every commute that there might be something going on. SAD Score – 7/10

Increased sensitivity to social rejection
This one surprisingly not too bad. Despite the poor economy and the frequency with which people in my industry are being laid off, I feel fairly confident at work and like my coworkers like and respect me. SAD Score – 1/10

Avoidance of social situations and a loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy
Why is it that all summer skiing sounds like a blast, but when the season actually comes it just sounds like a lot of work? Oh yeah, because of Seasonal Affective Disorder. I have been making a point of getting together with friends, and I always have a good time, but lately I do find myself dreading socializing for a few hours before I see them. I just never feel like I'm going to have the energy to interact and be interesting. Also, I've lost interest in tv which is probably a good thing, but is out of character for me. SAD Score – 8/10

Total 42/90 = about 47%

2009 Resolutions - Update 1 month in

Now that it’s February, it seems like a good time for a status update on my 2009 Resolutions.

1. Change to a new doctor and dentist – no progress yet. I contacted the doctor I’d gotten rave reviews about but he’s not accepting new patients. I definitely need a new one, since my current PCP doesn’t have any open appointments until August! Dentist – I still need to make an appointment, but I won’t need another check up until March so I still have a few weeks.

2. Visit a new city – no trips made yet, but plans are in the works for an April trip to Washington DC and a May trip to Atlanta. Wah-hoo! I’d also love to make it out of the country sometime in the Fall.

3. Remember to send birthday cards for immediate family + aunts and uncles. (total of 17 to remember.) – No cards sent. This has turned into a resolution to set up a gmail calendar so I can have access to it everywhere and sync my phone to it. Haven’t gotten around to it yet though.

4. Visit vocal therapist -- need to visit doctor first to get a referral.

5. Increase payments on student loans – nope.

6. Start regular contribution to new savings account for house/condo/whatever someday – YES!! Finally a resolution I’ve followed through on. $50 a week has been earmarked for a house/condo/whatever someday.

7. Complete the final The Artists Way book – haven’t started the book yet, but I have gotten back into my morning pages and walks outdoors.

8. Learn to knit – Sort of done this one. I picked up a couple Knifty Knitter looms and made a hat and a scarf. Pretty impressive for me, actually.

9. Take beginning Greek 2 class – hasn’t started yet.

10. Finish draft of book – oof. Not even another word written since January 1.

11. Write and post 100 blogposts in 2009 – 15/100 completed.

Ok, so not so much progress made on the resolutions yet, but we’re only a month into the year. Hopefully February will be a little more productive.