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9 Feb

I could use some. SAD time. Usually seems to hit me hardest just when it finally starts to get a bit lighter. I haven’t managed to do anything during the last month. If you don’t count backing in ditch once (needed a tow truck to get out), and a week later into a mailbox (totaled it – the company car only got a small scratch) on the paper route. Bad weather contributed, both times, in the first case a nice, untouched snow cover on a narrow road I had to back into, indistinguishable from the snow bank in the ditch, and no way to tell where the road stopped and the ditch began, and I guessed wrong. And the second time, sheer ice on that road, I braked and the damn car keeps sliding for nearly couple of meters longer in spite of the fact that the speed was about what would be a very slow jog for a human at that point.


Sometimes I really hate driving in winter.


Also the anti-inflammatory pain meds I’ve been eating for a couple of weeks (an effort to deal with the inflamed Achilles tendon I have had problems with for several months) may have had an effect, one of the possible side effects seems to be ‘may cause drowsiness’, so perhaps my reaction speed and attention have been somewhat impaired lately. Embarrassing, anyway.


So, let’s just say I haven’t managed anything productive.


I should be back in a week or two. I hope.

Meteorites and locusts

15 Feb

The first meteorite which was big enough to cause damage since Tunguska. Cool. And not, I do feel sorry for the people who happened to live where it came down and were injured or suffer financially, but nevertheless, these happen, and it is cool to have witnessed one even it is only because this happened at a time when video cameras are in wide enough use that there are now several videos to be found in Youtube. A couple of decades earlier and we could have read about this, and with luck seen a few photos, but now you can actually see what it looked like when it happened.

Locusts on the other hand are just my excuse for why I still can’t put up any new paintings. You know, the time eating kind? Lots around during this week, I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that and several days went by with only a few added dabs of paint in a couple of the paintings, and none finished. I did manage to write a bit though. The text even seems to be fairly decent. I think I’m, once again, starting to get slowly back to normal, if you consider normal what I am during the spring and the fall and mostly during the summers although then too much light can bother me a bit too, I can get slightly manic I suppose. Scattered, sort of, I do have some tendency to start too many things and, as a result, have some problems finishing most of them. I am at my best during the late summer and early fall. There are times when I really would like to move somewhere more south. It would be nice to see what it is like to live where the nights and the days stay more constant.


10 Jan

The damn SAD kind of jumped me a bit right after the new year. I just kept on vegetating and thinking that maybe I’ll start tomorrow, for several days. Pretty typical for this time of the year, there are things I just can’t manage, like writing (requires the ability to concentrate, inside your head, if I can’t even remember what the characters have already done I can’t keep the plot together), but while I can paint, and draw (you can see the whole thing with one glance…), the big problem of the season applies to them too – if I stop doing it regularly, even for a few days, getting started again takes an effort. Sometimes a pretty big one.

And I have been craving fast carbs like nothing. Potatoes and rice perhaps are excusable, but the two liters of ice cream will show the next time I dare to weight myself. This time of the year they always do, especially since I haven’t been moving much either. We had a very white Christmas with lots of snow but the weather warmed up around new year, and for a couple of days it rained. Which meant that most of the snow melted, except for sidewalks and other places where people had stamped the snow tight. So then it got cold again and now those places are coated with ice. I hate ice. I love walking, usually, but when that would mean walking on ice – no thanks. I fall down several times every winter even if I do avoid walking, and one of the problems that can give you, long term, are stuff like the badly scarred tendons I have on my shoulders. Lots of falls, most resulting in slight injuries like a small rip on a tendon which might give you slight tenderness on that area for a couple of days, at most, if you notice it at all when it happens, but if you get lots of those – well, they scar, and lots of scarring on a tendon can mean that it won’t work quite right any more, or fit in the space where it is supposed to fit… and then you may end with limited mobility and inflammation, and if that gets bad enough you may need surgery. I’m not quite at that point yet (occasional inflammation, but everything still moves almost as well as before), and I’d prefer not to get there at all. So I have gotten very wary of slippery surfaces. I still do fun stuff which might end in falls, but if I risk those injuries now it better be for something I really enjoy doing, and just walking while being scared of the surface on which you walk doesn’t quite meet that qualification. Especially if the weather is also less than enjoyable. Which it often is here, around this time.

Some parts of aging really do suck. Other parts not so much. I think I like what I am now a lot more than I liked the younger me. I used to be a lot more insecure and neurotic than I am now, for one thing. 🙂

Okay, I think I can get myself out of this rut, even if it is harder now than it would be when there is more light. I have started doing some preliminary work with acrylics. The oils are mostly still either a bit too wet or way too wet to show. I do much prefer oils to acrylics, but I think I can manage simpler paintings with the acrylics too. We’ll see.


Still no pictures

16 Dec

but at least I’m progressing in the clutter clearing department. A bit. Slow going as it is.

The big problem I have at this time of the year is seasonal affective disorder. All of Finland is above the 60th parallel, and this time of the year it gets dark. Daylight lasts about six hours, and whether it can really be called ‘daylight’ is debatable, it’s more like a three hour morning twilight changing into a three hour evening twilight, and since it tends to be also overcast around this time there really isn’t much light to be seen.

The worst problem with SAD, at least for me, is that I lose my ability to concentrate. I have been writing, but it’s very slow going, sometimes I can produce only a few hundred words a day, sometimes not even that. I will probably get the novel ready sometime in the first part of next year, but that will be perhaps around the end of February.

One thing it doesn’t seem to affect much is painting and drawing, those I have been able to do almost as well as during any other part of the year. Perhaps, in the future, I will dedicate the darkest months solely to that, and do all my writing on the other parts of the year, 3 months just painting and 9 months mostly writing. Might work.

Besides not being able to concentrate much I’m also sleepy, and I crave sweet stuffs. I can do completely without sweets most of the year, I don’t eat them and I don’t miss them, but now I’m daydreaming about ice cream and pastries and chocolate, and have succumbed a few times too. Also everything else that gives you a quick blood sugar raise, like rice, breads, potatoes, and to those temptations I have fallen a bit more often than to the sweets. I’m borderline type 2 diabetic so that is really a rather bad idea… I will probably gain a few kilos during these months again, and that’s something I really couldn’t afford. And besides that I shouldn’t be eating breads anyway, I seem to be somewhat sensitive to gluten grains, while I shouldn’t have the celiac disease – at least according to the blood test – they do give me digestive problems if I do eat them more than very occasionally, and sometimes even something like once a month sandwich may do that. Shouldn’t do even that, I suppose, but have you ever tried to find something cheap to eat while out which does not have some form of grains in it? So yep, sometimes I do end up buying something like a grilled sandwich or small hamburger on those occasions.

Well, less than a week to go until winter solstice, and after that about a month before I will start to notice the increasing light. Depending a bit on the weather, if there are lots of sunny days the beginning of February starts to give some noticeable relief, if it’s mostly overcast it may take a few weeks longer.

There are some ways to ease the symptoms. I have a daylight lamp which I do use, but perhaps not quite as much as I should since the light can give me problems too, bright light seems to be one of the triggers which give me migraine auras. I don’t usually get the actual headache, but I do see those damn auras, and have most of the other symptoms connected to migraines.

Some supplements seem to help too. Vitamin D3 in very large doses is one. With it I take K2 since there seem to be claims that large doses of D can cause problems like hardening of arteries but taking vitamin K at the same time should eliminate most of those. I also use fish oil. I used to get the SAD symptoms bad, there was about a decade and a half when I was mostly nearly completely useless for anything during about three months every year – I did work, but could do only simple menial stuff like paper routes or cleaning, and then I’d sleep most of time I wasn’t working. There were times when I was doing only paper routes which took about four to five hours a day, and then I could sleep up to 14 or 15 hours, and I would still feel sleepy most of the time I was awake. With the lamp and the supplements things are not nearly that bad. I still sleep more, but most times it’s only an hour or two more than during the summers, I have problems concentrating but I can do that, not as well as the rest of the year but at least to some extent, and while I do feel more down now than during the summers I get nowhere as bad as I used to – I was diagnosed, several times, as having moderate depression, a couple of times bordering on severe, before one doctor noticed that those depressive episodes only seemed to happen during the winter.

If I had known what the problem was when I was still young I would have done my damnedest to move somewhere closer to the equator. I dropped out of university due to this, I have spend most of my life living on those badly paying and boring menial jobs due to this, and besides the practical problems it causes having depression just isn’t exactly fun, whatever its reason the symptoms are pretty much the same. But SAD was ‘found’ during the 80’s, and for me it took until the end of 90’s before I knew what the problem with me was, for sure, and even after that several years before I found the best ways to deal with it. Maybe I should be happy that at least I was born in the era when that particular problem was discovered, a few decades earlier and I would have spend my whole life just being labeled lazy or indolent, or maybe as having a weak character, or possibly depressed, but I have to admit that the whole thing, finding out what and why and what to do only when in my late 30’s, still irks me. And I did get quite a few of those ‘weak character’ and ‘indolent’ comments from some people, still do at times since not everybody is willing to believe that yes, some people really can react to lack of light that badly. Especially since while mild winter blues happens with lots of people symptoms as bad as mine really are quite rare.

One of the minorities I belong to. Others being: I’m left-handed, I have AB- blood and high enough IQ that I was accepted to Mensa. Lefties seem to be thought to be about 10 to 15 %, AB negatives 1 %, Mensa membership qualified 2 % and people who can get severe SAD symptoms, I think, about 2 % of the population. 🙂

Okay, next time some drawings. I should get that post up in a couple of days.