Tag Archives: seasonal affective disorder


Whenever that is.  Technically, Spring begins on the day of the Spring equinox, usually March 21st.  But around here, it’s already Spring…but not Spring enough.  Like Spring everywhere, the temperature is very variable, and can’t make up its mind about whether it wants to be warm or cold.

When I lived in Iowa, I once went to…Home Depot?  In March.  I said to the guy at the counter, You don’t have any tomato plants for sale.   He said, You aren’t from around here, are you?  We don’t sell those until May.  Of course, his first clue was probably the Southern accent.

Then, as in now, I want Spring to hurry up and get here. I’ve started to seriously long for the late afternoons and early evenings after work, when I can sit at my beloved little picnic table in the back yard until it’s dark, and read.  I at least try to stay out until dusk, when I might see bats.  I love watching the forest behind my house, seeing it turn from lime green to dark green;  seeing and hearing the birds; watching the sun set.  Sometimes I stay out so late that it’s hard to find my way back to the house.  Sure, I know the right direction to go…it’s that the ground is very uneven because the Doberman (RIP) dug so many holes in it.

This year I’ll have to be even more careful since I broke my leg.  I expect my left ankle to be very weak, and I can’t afford to step in a hole.  I’m going to have to invest in a good flashlight, and not stay out so late.

The downside of being at the picnic table in spring is that I have to share it with a lot of insects.  Spiders, ants, caterpillars, carpenter bees, mosquitos, and some sort of nameless thing that bites, to name a few.  As for mosquitos–I have that covered.  Me and Cutter are BFF’s.  None of the other critters seem to be impressed by my friend Cutter.

I really can’t overemphasize how important it is to me to be able to come home and sit at my picnic table. For one thing, it’s decompression.  My whole work life is in the public eye, which has both its good and bad points.  Many times it’s very fun…I get to see and meet funny and amazing people.  Then there are the bad points, where I have to do bad things like…threaten to call the police (and sometimes actually do it), or correct an employee.  Shockingly, employees rarely respond with “You’re entirely right”.  But even the good times are stressful to an extent, because you never know which kind of encounter you’re going to have.  Ergo, decompression.  Me, by myself, recovering peace and equilibrium.

But a bigger part, I think, is that I need sun and warmth.  In other words, I’m pretty sure I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  And what a great acronym is that?  I can tell you that the day Daylight Saving Time ends in November is the worst day of my life, every year.  I am instantly depressed and look at December and January as an ordeal that must be endured.  February is fine…because if it isn’t already Spring, then you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.



Clothing and the Metric System

The inspiration for this is the fact that it’s getting cooler now in north Florida, down to about 64 at night.  Needless to say, that’s Fahrenheit.  I never think about the metric issue until I start thinking about the weather.  Then I think of my friend Sue in Canada.  She taught me this great quickie formula for conversion of Fahrenheit to Centigrade, or vice versa, which bypasses all that dividing or multiplying by 9/5 or 5/9.  So here you go:  To convert F to C, subtract 30, then divide in half.  So, 64F is approximately 17C.  Sue would consider that balmy.

On the other hand, some days, Sue posts on Facebook that it is expected to reach 27 (!) and she is going to die!  I think, me too!  I need to build a fire!  Then I remember.  27C is about 84F.  I consider that balmy.

And don’t get me started on kilometers.  All I can say is that lucky for me, most modern cars have speedometers for measurements of both.  Otherwise, driving in Canada, as I have done, I would have no idea whether or not I was obeying the speed limit.  Not that I take that into account in any case.  I go with the flow, and correct according to road conditions, and hope that works out.

Sue lives in a border/tourist town between Canada and the U.S. on the St. Lawrence River, and they have learned all sorts of conversion tables in their heads.  Centigrade to Fahrenheit.  Kilometers to miles.  Canadian dollars to the U.S. dollar.   Clothing sizes.

Yes, clothing sizes.  It dawned on me that sizes for women’s clothing in other countries might be different from that in the U.S.  Not that it has anything to do with the metric system, but I was right.

Most of us have long been suspicious that clothing manufacturers or distributors in the U.S. deliberately reduce the sizes of clothes so that women don’t get depressed about how fat they are.  So, size 12 in the U.S., which as far as I know is still considered average, would be a 14 in the UK and Canada.   And they are probably fudging a bit too.

This is no more evident than when we hire a new female employee at work.  We provide free uniforms to them, so as part of the orientation process we ask, What size do you wear?  The answers are hilarious.  I wear a 4, they say.  I look at these women and silently think, okay.  You are 6 inches taller than me and weigh at least 40 pounds more than me.  (And I weigh somewhere between 115 and 120 and wear a 10 or sometimes 12.)  You wear a 4 in an alternate universe.  So mentally, I just always add 8.  If you think you wear a 4, I order a 12.

But speaking of depressing, in shoes, I wear a 6 1/2 U.S. , but they don’t seem to make half-sizes for the U.S. any more.  So I have to choose between a 6 and a 7.  In the U.S., a 6 is a 4 1/2  and a 7 is a 5 1/2.  In Europe, a 7 in the U.S. is a size 39.  Okay, that would depress me.

Now that “winter” is coming on–a relative term, and it won’t happen for a couple of months yet–I have to take stock of my “winter” clothing.  I have to find my gloves, and my furry caps, and buy some tights, and get a suede brush for my boots.  I have to wash my workaday jacket and have my actual coat cleaned (for the longest time I didn’t even have a coat).  I should buy socks too.

I hate cold weather.  I don’t like waking up in the dark.  I don’t like wearing so many clothes.  I don’t like not being able to sit in the back yard at my picnic table and read.  This is worse than preparing for hurricane season.  Much, much worse.  I just have to remind myself that I only have to hunker down and endure it for about two months, because by February it will be spring.

I could be the poster child for Seasonal Affective Disorder.