Monday, January 16, 2017


I have an Instagram account that I post to about as often as I post here. Except my Instagram posts include more poetry--haiku, specifically. This feels a little like cheating as far as blog posts go, but I thought I'd share a few of my instacritter posts with you:

Other chores await
But sleepy lap cat says no.
Chores will keep waiting.

  Why are we stopping?
I love hiking in the snow!
I don't like stopping.

A freaked out feline
Found at a local Goodwill.
Treasure left behind.

You know it's cold out
When the radiator sprouts
A fluffy cover.

Monday, October 3, 2016

SAD - It's not depression, it's a throwback

What if Seasonal Affective Disorder (for winter, at least) is actually a coping mechanism? I mean, think about it...  A lot more of human history happened by candlelight than by electric light. When there was more night than day and the weather was bitter, people did as little as possible outdoor work, then kept themselves and their livestock indoors where it was warmer and safer. They slept more, which helped to conserve their often meager resources through that season. If a person had their normal levels of energy, cabin fever would be a serious problem, but S.A.D. would help avoid that situation. 

S.A.D. feels different from my other depression, too. During other depressive episodes, I experience self-loathing, sometimes suicidal thoughts, insomnia, and irrational anger/annoyance, in addition to my lack of motivation or energy. During S.A.D. episodes, I feel like sleeping more, eating things that increase my personal layers of insulation, and sitting quietly indoors, but I don't feel badly about myself. My genetic background includes a lot of German along with a smattering of other northern European influences. In other words, people who would have spend half of the year sleeping more, eating high-calorie meals, and staying indoors as much as possible. So maybe my S.A.D. is not a disorder at all--it's an evolutionary coping mechanism for conditions that no longer exist. Because we have electric lights, cars, and better heaters, we are now expected to continue "business as usual" all year long. But my system is geared toward a season of withdrawal and quiet, so continuing to keep up with everyday life is difficult for me.

Maybe this winter, I'll try to find a happy medium. Exercise just enough to stay strong, go to bed a little earlier, and schedule some time to sit quietly and read every day. I'll give myself permission to rest and retreat a little more and cooperate with my instincts.

Apparently, winter drools a little...

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Two years ago, I adopted a troubled little cat named Bailey.  He was terrified of new people and had lots of other anxiety issues.  He had lived at the shelter for most of his two years and was in need of a good deal of patience and quiet love.  Even though Bella never made friends with him, he slowly and steadily came out of his shell.  

He's still frightened of new people and anxious about loud noises, but he loves to snuggle with me and my partner and is relaxed around our two big dogs.  When I reread my post from his early days with me, I realized how far he has come and how much he has opened up to us.  His name changed from Bailey to Beep, once he let us see what a sweet, funny little guy he is.  It's incredible to see him cruising confidently around the house, asking for dinner or attention, and letting the dogs know where his boundaries are.

Slightly annoyed at having his picture taken this early
Early "brave" moment


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Winter munchies

Right this minute, all I want is a big plate of cheese fries with real bacon and a good beer.  Ah, winter weather, you are making me want all the wrong things.  Tasty...but it's the wrong thing to do.  I will eat my applesauce and cinnamon walnuts and go for a run later.  Boring...but it's the right thing to do.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Depression and Bacon

Grief + depression = massive amounts of "please can't I stay in bed today" (hint: no, you can't). One of these days I'll write a eulogy for my little cat baby, but this is not that day.  I'm still disoriented without her.  I've been depressed for so long that I alternate between actual depression, frustration with the continued depression, and sheer boredom with being depressed. 

Fairy Tale


Like a unicorn
or a dragon-

A rumor, a tale
of something that existed
Once upon a time,

A long time ago.

I feel like this unicorn really understands my poem...

Yeah, depression is pretty boring.  More interesting--this weekend I invented a new comfort breakfast.  My primal version of the cinnamon roll is a bacon-wrapped banana, which is exactly as awesome as it sounds.  Wind a piece of bacon around a peeled banana and bake it at 400F until the bacon is as done as you like--crispy bacon, gooey banana.  And it's easier to make than the cinnamon rolls you get in the can.  It's not particularly easy to share, though, so I created THIS:

Baked Bacon-nanas

1/2 lb bacon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cloves
4-6 bananas, sliced

Place the bacon on a wire rack over a cookie sheet.  Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.  Cut into bite-sized pieces.  Butter an 8x8 baking dish and place banana slices in the bottom.  Combine the spices and sprinkle over the banana slices.  Scatter bacon pieces on top.  Bake at 375F for 10-15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Still pretty danged easy to make and very easy to share.  Or not, because you may be tempted to keep it to yourself.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Huevos Whatever

Here's another "open a can of" recipe that works for any meal.  It's particularly good as second breakfast after a long run.  There has been some controversy over what to call it, as my roomie thought it looked Christmasy but I feel that the number of green things in the dish was more important.  (I also suspect that giving it a holiday name might limit the number of weekends that some people would be willing to eat it.)  We have currently settled on calling it "Huevos Verdes" when it's snuggled under a blanket of guacamole* or using "Huevos Navidad" when it's topped with golden shredded cheese.  Whatever the name, I call it stupendous weekend food:

Huevos Whatever/Huevos Verdes/Huevos Navidad

approx. 1 tsp butter
14 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 bag of frozen chopped spinach (they are 12 oz, I think?)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2-4 eggs
Guacamole or shredded cheese

Melt the butter in a frying pan or saute pan over medium heat.  Add tomatoes (with their juice) and heat until simmering.  Add frozen spinach.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until spinach is warmed through.  Thoroughly mix in cumin and chili powder.  Simmer until liquid has thickened/evaporated to your taste.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and use a large spoon to make one depression in the mixture for each egg.  Break the eggs into the nests you made for them.  Put a lid on the pan and cook until the egg is done the way you like it.  (I like runny yolks, my roomie prefers solid ones.  He's a bit odd.)  Scoop into bowls and top with guacamole or shredded cheese.  Enjoy!

What will you call yours?  Leave a comment and let me know!  (Or leave a comment and correct my admittedly faulty Spanish--whatever pleases you most.)

*Thanks for that description, Papa Don.  It's a comforting dish and that was the perfect phrase for it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Morning Mile

Oh hai!  Where've you been?  It seems like it's been ages since I saw you all.  Dunno if you remember this, but about a year ago I was wondering what my winter/spring would have been like if I hadn't been training for a marathon.  Turns out that it's like major depression.  The kind that makes it easy to give in to my cravings for sugar and other carbs.  The kind that makes it difficult to do anything beyond the absolute minimum required.  Plus the minimum required at work has gotten pretty maximum in the last 4-5 months.  Plus other changes (and make no mistake--even good changes are stressful).  It's been tough. 

It's getting easier, at last.  The "I don't know how this is going to work" has settled into "we're finding our way through this."  The changes required more time than expected, so workouts have fallen to the wayside.  I went a full month without lacing up running shoes or unrolling my yoga mat.  Yes, yes--exercise is the #1 antidepressant--but sleep deprivation doesn't make depression any more pleasant to deal with either.  Still.  I keep waking up half an hour before the alarm goes off, so I decided to use that time to do something besides lay quietly and try to rest my body while my mind runs circles around my to-do list.

Yep.  That early.  (found the pic here with 10 tips to shut up and run)

One of my new roommates is a dog--a lovely husky/lab mix who is a bit neurotic.  I've seen similar behavior in purebred working dogs who have no work to do.  Working dog breeds seem to be more settled if they have activities similar to the ones they were bred to do. I thought that perhaps I could help us both.  About a week ago, I got up as soon as I woke up, laced up my running shoes, snapped on her leash, and went out into the cool of the dawn for a teeny-tiny, one-mile run.  I've done the same thing each day since then.

My running buddy, mid-wag
She gets very excited when she sees the running shoes go on my feet. She's also getting better at running on a leash and beginning to get used to the sustained effort the run requires.  She's learning to sniff things briefly without actually stopping our run.  She's learned a couple of commands and is slowly accumulating more. I'm not a morning person, so mostly this early running makes me tired and hungry.  However, it feels good to know that I'm becoming a runner again.  Plus, it's over before my sleepy brain realizes what I'm doing  (just like the motivational signs say).  

Found the poster here with 7 reasons to exercise early

And it's nice to start the day by making some creature ridiculously happy.