letting a little 'sunshine' in my life...

These extremely short winter days in England really zap me for some reason. This winter and last I have felt completely and utterly exhausted from late November onwards. Doesn't matter how much sleep I get, I'm constantly tired and when I'm tired, I'm not very pleasant to be around. And let's face it, I don't have many friends here as it is, so I really need to do something about it! Last year this cycle didn't really end until late spring and I anticipate the same again this year. I had never heard of 'Seasonal Affective Disorder' until I moved here, but the more I think about it and study my personal patterns, the more I realise I may be suffering from SAD, and honestly I probably always have but didn't realise the extent of it until I moved to a climate where the winter only allows 7-8 hours of light per day. These 'dark nights' really do exacerbate things a bit!

Will and I both took a Circadian Rhythm test today on the Philips site, and as I expected my results showed that I am much more impacted by these sunless winter days than my darling husband - which partially excuses my periodic moody bitchiness that is worse in the winter.

(Although honestly I can't blame SAD for all of my brattiness because let's just face it - I'm pretty high maintenance full stop and I am the first to admit it. That said, those who know me realise it's much worse when I'm tired, and in the winter I'm tired ALL THE TIME! )

A special thanks to my sister for supporting my stance that it's not ALL my fault by saying: "Yeah I've always thought you are worse in the winter!". Upon reflection, I realise this means she thinks I'm a beotch year-round, but just not as bad in the summertime; however she also admitted she must suffer from SAD year-round because she's never nice, which tickles me to no end. Ah Susie, how I love little pessimistic you.

Anyway, I've just ordered the Lumie alarm clock and I seriously want it to work. The whole theory behind it is that instead of waking you with an alarm, it slowly lights up creating a "false sunrise" and provides you light you so desperately need while also gradually waking you up instead of jolting you with a buzzer. Yes, I realise this sounds gimmicky and stupid, but I'm willing to try anything at this point as it's a long long way until April/May for 'natural' relief of these winter blues.


How quickly the year has passed...

I've been living permanently in the UK for 13 months now. This is my second Christmas here, although I sort of count it as my first because last year I had just arrived really and didn't have much time to think about the holidays really. I just found this pic of Will and I in our Christmas hats last year and I have three observations:

1 - My hair was so short just a year ago - wow! I'm not sure if I like it better in a bob or longer, jury is still out on that one...

2 - I have definitely put on some weight since then - I can see it in my (our) faces. Oh well, happiness (and yorkshire puddings) do that to you.

3 - Whew, thank God I took another chance on Will and building a life here in England - two Christmases ago I never thought it would have been possible.

Now, it's not all peaches and cream here in the UK. The damp damp damp climate and lack of sun in the winter means I get WAY more colds than I should. I am pretty lonely for my family and friends back in the States, especially when it could be at least 6-8 more months before I can make it back for a visit. I also am sad for Will, as I know he has holes in his family life that I can't fill and this time of year is hardest on him. But really, I try to set all of that aside and recognise the fact it would be SO much worse and I'm pretty damn lucky to be living abroad, working in a job I'm passionate about and sharing my life with a man who doesn't mind doing all the ironing. Life is good.


utterly lazy weekend

We have done nothing this weekend. Nothing of consequence at least. And, oh was a weekend of nothing so wonderful! To recap...

Saturday morning we got out of bed a little after 11am. Yes, 11 am ! Unheard of normally because either my bladder or the children who live upstairs wake us up earlier most weekends. Barely awake, we trudged over to the post office before it closed, where I nearly had a panic attack sending off my passport, marriage certificate and UK Visa off to the US Embassy for passport renewal. (Seriously, the entire walk home from the post office I was like OMG what will I do if it's lost? What will I do?! How can I trust that Royal Mail woman? What if they lose it? My life will be over! Must. Calm. Down).

Anyway after recovering from the post office traume and finishing off my organic fair trade skinny latte (which wasn't much better than the ASDA stuff I brew at home), we walked into Gosforth, bought some magazines and had lunch at the Brandling Arms pub, where we then lazed around and read/drank for several hours. Good food, leather couches, white wine and warmth all for less than £20 - can't beat it. We headed home when it was starting to get dark (which is about 345pm these days!), made supper and pretty much did nothing the rest of the night but watch telly and talk about how disgusting the flat is, making promises of cleaning 'tomorrow'. I think I was in my PJs by 830pm - exciting huh?

Today we slept in until after 10, made a lovely breakfast of poached eggs, fresh-baked baguette and bacon from the Gosforth butcher and caught up on The Daily Show whilst drinking coffee. We've watched 3 movies today - Bottle Rocket (hilarious!), The Escapist (predictably average) and Iron Man (AWESOME, oh and I am so in love with RDJ!). We also did a deep clean of the flat, cooked another meal and basically stayed in the entire time. Boring to many, lovely to us. And cheap! After last weekend's Manchester spending spree I was quite happy to stay in.

Oh, yeah. We watched the latest Simpson episode (or the latest one showing in the UK to be more precise). I just don't see how they keep churning them out so successfully. How in the hell do they keep that show relevant after so many years? It started in 1987 on Tracie Ulman - 21 years ago - and still is funny and modern to this day. And oh, that last sentence just made me feel really old - jeez, 1987 doesn't actually seem that long ago anymore. Ugh.

Only one remotely unpleasant thing to note from the weekend, and really it's nothing big. My current 'trauma' is that my Christmas tree is shedding like MAD. I really think it might have pine-tree alopecia or something. I have NEVER had a tree shed this bad, and before you comment - yes, I am watering it. The needles are coming off at such a rate that some of the ornaments are sliding off bare twigs with the the slightest vibration from the wind as you walk slowly past. It's absolutely annoying! I sweep them up twice a day at least, and I have NO IDEA how we're going to get that thing out of this 2nd floor flat (3rd floor US) without a huge mess in the hallways. Ugh, how I miss my old place in Columbus where I could just chuck the sucker out the back balcony and drag it to the street without a care in the world. Those were the days!

Back to work tomorrow. Which means going back to nothing to work on. Starting a new job at Christmas time isn't exactly a thrill a minute, but I shouldn't complain I suppose. I'm just really sick of CBTs and staring at the company logo while drinking vending machine coffee for hours on end. My boss says after the new year things will pick up and I won't have a minute to breathe, so I am trying to enjoy the downtime while I can. He's taking me to our London location Tuesday, which means flying down and back in a single day (the benefit of working for an airline). They call it 'Duty Travel'. Makes me feel like I'm in the military or something!

Ok, so enough droning on for now. I'm going to attempt to blog more in 2009, but hopefully my subject matter will be a little more interesting by then.



(sur)Reality Check

Generally speaking, I’m starting to forget I live in a foreign country. Sometimes when I used the word ‘home’, I’m actually referring to here rather than the good old US of A. The transition has been slow, subtle and admittedly painful at times, but it’s happening nonetheless. My vernacular is evolving at an impressive pace, as well as my wardrobe. I’m still glaringly American to everyone here of course, but I am pretty sure I seem less American than before to those Stateside. Basically, I’m acclimating, simple as that. Yet sometimes I have these weird almost out-of-body moments where I become acutely cognizant of the fact that I am an alien, that this culture isn’t MY culture and that really, truly I don’t understand what it’s like to be British any more than they can possibly understand what it’s like NOT to be British. These moments occur less and less frequently these days, but when they do, it’s quite powerful.

I had one of these strange epiphanies today on the Metro, coming home from work. ‘Epiphany’ isn’t exactly the correct word to describe the feeling though, it’s more like a sense of ‘deja-vu’ combined with ‘what the f*ck?’ and ‘where am I?’ all rolled into a ten-second mini roller coaster of the mind. There wasn’t any one thing that set me off today on the train… like every other day, I was reading my book and ignoring everyone around me, constantly stopping mid-sentence to make sure I hadn’t missed my stop. About the third go at double-checking the station sign, I became hyper-conscious of the people around me talking, and how different they sound to me. And then I noticed their clothes and their faces and started thinking about how they grew up compared to me, and within a few seconds I was like ‘Oh my god, I’m in a foreign country, this isn’t my life, this feels so weird.’. A momentary panic ensued followed by the reassuring announcement that the next stop was Regent Centre, which means I was almost home. Home. That’s what I thought instinctively, I’m almost home. And suddenly I didn’t feel foreign or weird or misplaced anymore.

I wonder sometimes if these moments will cease occurring, or if it will always be like this for me? I’m so intrinsically American, and proud to be so, that the thought of losing these periodic moments makes me sad in a way. I don’t crave to be different – I don’t want to stand out all the time. But I also don’t crave to be a nationality I’m not, nor to lose touch with the culture that formed me from infancy. Only time will tell I suppose… wait and see, wait and see.


i hate my immune system!!

I have been sick for about 2 months off and on, with a few good days here and there but mostly sick sick sick. Will and I keep passing bugs back and forth and it's exhausting! I mean, I'm so tired of being ill that I'm actually laying off on booze and taking supplements. Seriously, it's that bad. The funny part is that I'm not really getting super sick - just mildly - but it's been going on for so long now that I'm not sure whether or not I could pass a drug test. Over the last couple months I've had to buy enough Sudafed, ibuprofen, Nurofen CF, Night Nurse and other various OTCs that I think the Boots pharmacy staff is starting to suspect I'm running a meth lab rather than self-medicating. Please please please let this be the last of my colds for awhile!!!