I was born to bright swirls of yellows and greens in the sky, blue bright waves crashing by, Brasil.
My mother remarried and we moved to the States for a safer place to live. When we did, I wanted to be everything American too, like our new grandmother Patsy. A beloved nurse, a wife to a war hero, she was just like the movies.
My sister and I didn’t speak much English then, and we’d sit quietly on the bed watching Patsy put on her drop earrings last. When they came, we were ready.
I’ll never forget our summers spent with her in Texas at the lake. Red hot American days spent eating ice cream and renting VHS tapes from Patsy’s favorite place, the local library.
I remember rushing home to watch Hepburn, Taylor, Vivien Leigh say things and feel things we couldn’t possibly understand.
The only thing that quenched our thirst more then, were Patsy’s famous ice cold, pink lemonades.
Image from Pleasantville
My favorite date place?
With myself, with a girlfriend, with anyone who gets as excited about hardcovers as I do. And perhaps she’s to blame.
If I ever have a whole day off, I like to hop on the train and walk to a bookstore or library. Whichever one is still standing unfortunately. There’s nothing sweeter than grabbing a coffee drink and strolling along the many aisles of unread books while caffeinated. Piling the few that look good and then scoring a nook someplace warm to leaf through them. And if I go with someone, I like to leaf and share and then pry through theirs.
I’ve never really considered myself an extrovert and this probably proves it.
On one of my dates alone, I was particularly interested in the Danish way of living. I always wondered why they’re the happiest people. And so I piled on all of the books I could find on the matter and I discovered, while eating croissant, that there is a method to the happiness- hygge!
I won’t bore you over something you can google for more, but, in a nutpost, hygge is undefined but closely defined as “coziness of the soul.” And if that’s too aloof for you, a hug in English is the closest feeling.
Comfort, conviviality, simple indulgence and well being are hygge’s means of pleasure. Cooking with feel good foods from forest, field, farm, partaking in cake and buzzy drinks with friends, indulging in good kinship, maintaining a simply designed but efficient home to leave more time with dog, not cleaning up, spending time with nature and appreciating it even if from afar, these are some of the ways to hygge. And now my favorite means to happy.
Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for short, is a real thing. I know it because I feel it and so do about 5% of the U.S. population.
For the rest of you lucky ones, you should know that SAD feels like low energy levels, mood swings, cravings for sweets and starches and not really desiring to see the non existing light of day. A total recipe for depression/disaster and/or menopause, but really SAD in this case.
What I didn’t know is that the trigger for all the above is less direct exposure to light and not the winter drop in temperature. In other words, you can experience SAD anytime of the year.
The best way to get a grip on life and reclaim your happy back then? More Vitamin D and psychotherapy. OR, good old simple sunshine finally! Which you can fake with light therapy or soak in as much as you can starting now.
With Spring here, what better way, and least expensive, to rid your blues than by stepping outside as much as you can to enjoy the longer and brighter days the season brings.
But you’re cooped up?
Try wherever you can. Opt out of ordering lunch and walk to get food instead. Or, take a hike on weekends instead of hitting the mill. If you have the luxury of an outdoor mall, ditch the AC and shop outside.
Do what you can but do go forth and relish in the beams with all the rest of the animals. I know I will.
My favorite things to do when in town are catching up with college girlfriends and visiting Joan Cusack’s shop of fun curiosities. Here’s my travel guide of the senses for the next time you’re en route.
If I were a store: Canada Goose
The smell of: peppered bacon, rye, extra polar ice gum
The feel of: your mom’s cross cable knit throw
Bring: the lip slip, a faux fur vest, No7 mascara
Not to miss: burger and fries at Au Cheval and Judy Maxwell Home
In case you thought I’d settle for ranunculus asiaticus.