Archive for May 28, 2011

Rainy Days and Sundays

What is it about a rainy day that makes a person feel like curling up in a corner with a quilt and a good book?  The squirrels seem to retain plenty of zip in this weather, judging from their frisky game of leap-frog tag across the front lawn.  My own ambition-level and mood, however, tend to fluctuate with weather conditions, although I’ve been able to flatten out the s-curve a bit with consistent endorphin-generating exercise.  And since the Sabbath is my weekly Official Day of Rest until the summer months turn it into my Official Day of Yard Work, I actually find relief in an occasional all-day spell of Sunday showers that gets me out of mowing and weeding – a sort of  “laziness permission slip” from Mother Nature.  

I’ve always blamed my dreary-day dips in mood on dark skies fooling my body into cranking out the sleep hormone associated with nightfall, and of course certain aches and pains can  accompany extremes in humidity.  Now Columnist Rich Maloof tells us that a 2008 study suggests only minimal effects from either good or bad weather states.  As added insult, Maloof offers the no-nonsense conclusion, “Most people are no more emotionally powerless against the weather than they are unable to put on a hat.”  He also quotes psychology professor Dr. Ani Kalayjian:  “We encourage people to take charge of their feelings.” 

Sounds reasonable.  But if storm-induced low barometric pressure reduces the amount of oxygen in the air, and dark skies trick my pineal gland into midday serotonin production, I get unnaturally tired.  When I get unnaturally tired, I get crabby.  I think my analysis is every bit as logical. 

Still, experience has taught me that, yes, alright; I can “take charge of those feelings” and “empower myself” to surmount them. So on any given gloomy day, I might plunge into something I’ll love being able to cross off my to-do list.  If I just can’t face organizing a closet or cleaning the oven or tidying the garage, I’ll do something both productive and uplifting.  For me that’s baking cookies for my neighbors or inviting a friend to dinner, because it’s the waste of time associated with feeling lethargic that really bugs me.  

One project I’ve had tucked into the bulletin-board frame of my mind, where I keep mental sticky-note reminders, is writing up some of my kitchen concoctions from April and May.  With June staring me in the face, I’d better hop to it and dispense with a half-dozen tasty dishes that fit right into a spring theme.  First, several vegetable recipe adaptations –  a Three-Pea Medley, a Brussels Sprouts With Dates and Walnuts dish, and a Mango-Glazed Carrots side, all of which sent me into spasms of delight.  But then I do love my vegetables. 

You might be more excited about Raised Currant Buns, whole wheat biscuits with some nice additions, or a Four Cheese Scalloped Potato casserole, slimmed down for everyday consumption.  For the mildly adventurous, ever try a Ground Chicken Lettuce Wrap?  Talk about a carbohydrate-watchers best friend – and if you don’t, you know I certainly will.  (Non-foodies:  you may skip to the last two paragraphs.  Mother Nature I am not, but I can grant you permission for that much.)  (more…)

May 28, 2011 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

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