Friday, March 6, 2015

Embracing Your Seasonal Affective Disorder

I hate you.
I begin every winter with the best of intentions: I’ll exercise, use my light lamp, eat healthy, and talk to other humans! Really! This year I’m totally going to do it, an entire life’s worth of evidence to the contrary be damned. Then my Seasonal Affective Disorder actually kicks in and and my brain and body go, “You’re kidding us with all this, right?”

So my original plan was to write about what I say I’m going to do versus what I actually do every year to deal with my SAD. After eight feet of snow in 30 days (not a jokey exaggeration!), Seasonal Affective Disorder starts to seem less like a maladaptive trait and more like a perfectly reasonable lifestyle. The time for healthy choices passed everyone by roughly three feet of snow ago, so let’s just call this a guide to getting to spring in the least painful, least healthy way possible.

Diet: Carbs are your best friend. Your meals should be as dense and white as Rob Gronkowski. Potatoes, bread, and potatoes on bread are all acceptable. All non-carbs should be covered in cheese. The healthiest thing you eat should be pizza (because tomatoes). At least 60% of your daily calories should come from a stockpile of half-off Valentine’s Day candy or bulk-bought Easter candy.

When you run out of candy, switch to alcohol. Cheap alcohol; never waste the good stuff on couch drinking. Chug coffee to wake yourself up. It doesn’t actually work, but if you drink enough you’ll get nauseous and that will keep you awake.

Environment: Whatever you do, Don’t Leave The House. It’s dark, cold, and scary out there. Everything you love in the outside world will still be there in the spring, and if it isn’t, well, then it wasn’t hardcore enough to survive and you don’t need that sort of weakness in your life.

Your only objective is to remain as warm and sedentary as possible. Find the most comfortable couch or chair in your house. Move it to a spot equidistant from the bathroom and a food source. Assemble a circle of necessary books, electronic devices, and remote controls and plant yourself in the middle. Make sure your computer is in there somewhere so you can make ill-advised impulse purchases.

Now take every throw pillow and blanket in your house and construct a cocoon into which you and all of your necessary objects will eventually disappear. (This is also where you will put your SAD-fighting light lamp, which you will never use but will instead stare balefully at every couple of days. That thing is an asshole.)

Do not leave unless there is a large fire. (Small fires can be smothered by your blanket cocoon.) Do not visit friends. Do not let friends visit unless they are willing to climb into your blanket fort and not talk to you.

Behavior: Listen, I know it’s usually an excellent and healthy idea to share your feelings, but I am here to tell you: Do not do this. One of the features of a disorder that leaves you listless and trapped in your house is that every little problem around you becomes a source of annoyance on par with people who lean their entire bodies on subway poles.

Your best bet is to answer every question with, “I have the SAD,” and then stop talking. Otherwise an innocent question from a loved one, like, “Why is the sink full of dishes?” can quickly devolve into you yelling, “And you think I haven’t noticed that you haven’t cut your toenails since September, but I have. I HAVE.”

Health: Sleep. All the sleep. Try to learn to sleep with your eyes partially open so you can do it at work and when people are talking to you. Look up the Guinness World Record for consecutive hours asleep (comas don’t count!) and try to break it. It’s good to have goals, and the longer you’re unconscious, the sooner it will be Spring.

Under no circumstances should you voluntarily exercise. Don’t listen to the commercials trying to sell you gym memberships. It isn’t going to make you feel better; it’s going to make you feel exactly the same, except sweaty. Shoveling and cursing the heavens count as exercise, anyway.

Certain people will tell you that your malaise can be solved by vitamins. This is also bullshit. Vitamins make you feel better because they are the only advice from your doctor that you ever manage to follow, not because they actually have any healing properties. Buy the gummy vitamins and refill the bottle with Haribo gummies when it’s empty. No one will know, and you get more candy.

Entertainment: Binge watch television shows that have already ended. You do not have the emotional reserves to hit the last episode on Netflix and realize it’s a cliffhanger. Ideally, you want a show where something gets fixed, be it a person, home, or business. That way you get a vicarious sense of accomplishment without actually having to do anything.

Movies are all right, but don’t watch anything that looks emotional. Sure, the catharsis of a good cry might seem appealing, but what happens when you can’t stop? I cried for so long after Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that my spouse suggested going to the emergency room to check on my tear ducts. Also, if a pet appears within the first ten minutes of the movie, check Does the Dog Die immediately.

Do not watch anything by Joss Whedon, except maybe The Avengers. But only the Captain America parts.

OK, all right: this is terrible advice. You will be chemically bonded to your couch by spring if you actually follow it. But one of the worst parts of depression is looking at the things you should be doing versus the things you’re actually capable of doing and beating yourself up over the vast gap between them. So if you need to pour M&Ms directly from the bag into your mouth in order to get back to a place where your relationships can survive the winter intact? I say do it and ditch the guilt.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Little Myth

The first Selene & Endymion story I read.

I wrote a freelance piece about myths associated with islands in the Aegean Sea, and one about the origin of Patmos island lodged itself in my head, possibly because it was one of the only Greek myths I've ever read that didn't involve murder, cheating, and/or revenge.  Here's the Wikipedia version:

According to a legend within the Greek mythology, the island's original name was "Letois," after the goddess Artemis, daughter of Leto. It was believed that Patmos came into existence thanks to her divine intervention. Mythology tells of how Patmos existed as an island at the bottom of the sea.

Deer-huntress Artemis frequently paid visits to Caria, the mainland across the shore from Patmos, where she had a shrine on Mount Latmos. There, she used to meet up with the moon goddess Selene, who cast her light on the ocean, revealing the sunken island of Patmos.

Selene was always trying to get Artemis to bring the sunken island to the surface and, hence, to life. Selene finally convinced Artemis, who, in turn, elicited her brother Apollo's help, in order to persuade Zeus to allow the island to arise from the sea.

It's all very [citation needed] and I wasn't able to find the same version of the story anywhere else, but Patmos wasn't very important until St. John of Patmos had a bad trip in a cave there and wrote the Book of Revelation. So maybe people made up a different version of its origin every time they told the   myth. Which, hey, is exactly what I'm about to do:

So Artemis, while hunting on Mount Latmos, often stopped for some goddess-talk with Selene, who kept time on Latmos with her immortal-in-sleep lover Endymion.

(When Selene first fell in love with Endymion, I imagine Artemis was like, "Aw, come on! Chicks before dicks. We moon virgins have to stick together." And Selene was like, "But he's cute!" which wasn't really going to sway a goddess whose usual thought about cute things was whether their heads would look good on her wall. But it meant Selene came around for chats on Latmos, so Artemis was won over eventually.)

"So he sleeps all the time?" Artemis asked one night.

"Yes," Selene replied, bending and poking a bit of moonlight into a luminous moth which flew off once it realized what it was.

"Does he talk?" Talking men were among Artemis's least favorite things.

"Mmm...mostly things like 'forget the cheese' and 'ladder rain apples.'"

"So he doesn't order you around or start wars or anything?"

"He's a shepherd, cousin. He wouldn't be doing any of those things anyway."

"Yes he would. He's a man. They all have delusions of grandeur." Artemis paused. "Does he sleepwalk?"

"Walk? No. Other things? Yes."

"Well, obviously. You're up to what, 36 daughters now?"

"Thirty-eight. I had twins last week."

"Oh! Congratulations. I should send them a gift, yes?"

"Your temple took care of it. You sent them lovely booties with their initials sewn on."

"Oh, Me bless them, they're so much better at gift-giving than I am." Another pause. "So. No talking. No fighting. You can come and go as you please, and your visits end in daughters?"

"That about sums it up, yes."

Artemis offered her fist, at which Selene stared for a moment before realizing she was expected to nudge it with her fist. (Artemis: Goddess of Fistbumps.)

"You know," Selene said after a moment, "If your temple is sick of sending baby clothes, there is something you could get me when daughter 39 arrives."

"Is it a birth control spell?"

Selene laughed and a thousand moon flowers sprang into bloom. "No, dearest. You see that shiny bit of land down at the bottom of the ocean there?"

"Ocean's not my domain. Ask Poseidon."

"I will not. He's a jackass. Besides, I want it raised out of the ocean. He'd never agree to that."

"I imagine Athena would do it just to spite him."

"Oh, she's on my list too. She turned my favorite weaver into a spider last week."

"Well, I hate to break it to you, Cos, but I can't raise land."

"But your brother raises the sun every day, yes? Maybe he could do it?"

"Has he sent baby gifts?"

"No, but he has inquired a few times as to whether my eldest has reached adolescence yet."

"Oh for Zeus's sake. Yeah, I'll ask him."


"What's in it for me?" Apollo asked as he harnessed his sun-chariot.

"I'll owe you?"

"No. I'm not falling for that again. You've owed me for three millennia for not telling Dad you were behind the Kalydonian Boar."

Artemis knew the quickest way to get her brother's attention and said, "It's for Selene."


"You are. So. Gross."

Apollo took the reins in one hand and shot a finger gun at his twin with the other. "I'll see what I can do," he called, taking to the sky.


Apollo went straight to Zeus. "Hey, Dad, wanna do a favor for your favorite son?"

"Sure. What does Hercules want?"

"That's cold, Dad."

"My father swallowed my siblings. You can deal with sarcasm."

Apollo told his father about Selene and her favorite spit of land. Zeus replied, "Hmm. Does she love it as much as that virile shepherd she keeps in a cave?"


The next time Artemis met Selene on Latmos, Patmos was glowing in the moonlight and Selene had a radiant toddler balanced on her lap. The Goddess of the Hunt wrinkled her nose and said, "A baby? Really?"

Selene just sent Pandeia over to give her sister-aunt a sticky-fingered hug.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Notes from Parenthood

Not my kid. Not enough snot and limb flailing, for one thing.

A few weeks ago, for reasons known only to herself, my daughter decided to throw an afternoon-long tantrum. As she screamed, I cycled through annoyance, concern, anger, empathy, back to concern, then finally shellshocked admiration at her stamina and commitment to cause.

Around hour two, her cries suddenly changed pitch and frequency. Seeing an opening, I hollered "RE-MIX!" and, as she stared in confusion, I began singing:

It's the remix to ignition,
hot and fresh out the kitchen.
I can't sing you the rest,
'cause it's not safe for children.

She frowned. She giggled. She wasn't yelling!

Then she took a deep breath and started all over again.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Sample Sale: Superhero Style

I joke that superhero comics are my midlife crisis. I turned 35 and all of a sudden I was consumed with the urge to surround myself with TPBs and have opinions on the characterization of heroes only, like, five people have ever heard of. I blame Kelly Sue DeConnick for being an awesome writer and a redhead (I can't resist a redehad, y'all). 

But I still love fashion and frippery, so here are my interests combined:

Solid Supernova Pendant (Free People, $39.95 from $58) Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, has the best costume in comics right now. I'm not even going to add "in my opinion." I am stating this as fact. Get a little bit of her badass-ness with this necklace. (Also: Lord,  has she come a long way from that first outfit, which I look at and immediately think "vagina wedgie.") (Also also: read her book. She is the best.)

Viento Arrow Cuff (Free people, $69.95 from $100) Hawkeye is the comic I would recommend to non-comics readers (aka: me, until about a year ago!) The writing and art are fantastic, and you don't need to know 50 years of canon to enjoy it. From a fashion perspective, arrows are in; I see them in jewelry a lot.

Pleated Silk Dress in Pansy (Madewell, $99.99 from $150) Kate Bishop is a large part of what Makes Hawkeye so awesome. She is smart, sassy, and up for anything but standing still and looking pretty. Kate's outfit considerations: 1) Is it purple? 2) Can I kick ass in it?

Spring Trench (BodenUSA, $138.60 from $198) The closest I could find to Jessica Drew's fierce coat in Hawkeye #9 (Jess, aka Spiderwoman, really needs a costume redesign. My boobs hurt for hers whenever I see her superhero-ing outfit.)

Two-Tone Reading Glasses (Anthropologie, $19.95 from $38) To hide your secret superhero identity, duh.

V Neck Dress (Shopbop, $529 from $880) Serving up Emma Frost realness. (Ed. Note: Finding a SFW Emma image? Very, very difficult.) But she's my favorite even with the cheesecake costume, and this is why:
Me too, Emma. Me too.

Alchemia Bullet Bracelet (Shopbop, $117 from $195) In the comics, Black Widow has bracelets that fire something called the "widow's bite." IDK what that is. I don't think it's important. What is important is: What the fuck is going on with her legs in this picture? Uh, anyway, this bracelet is made of bullets. 

Just the Way You Star Skirt (ModCloth, $61.99 from $87.99) You will never convince me that this isn't Wonder Woman's go-to date-and-or-BBQ skirt.

Red Haute American Summer Dress (ModCloth, $90.99 from $129.99) If you want to date Captain America.

In and Nights Out Dress (ModCloth, $39.99 from $79.99) If you want to seduce Captain America.

Glittered Stretch Belt (Anthropologie, $19.95 from $38) I could not for the life of me think of a specific superhero to attach this to, but it looks like it should be part of someone's costume, doesn't it? (ETA: Thor. It's Thor-esque. Thanks, Kelly Sue!)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sample Sale: Geek Chic

I very clearly recall being 11 years old, sitting in my hometown library with a friend, and trying to shush him as we talked about Star Trek: The Next Generation, because holy shit, what if someone found out I was a Trekkie? That would've been, well, not social suicide, because everyone already knew I was a huge nerd, but something awful, obviously.

It turns out one of the best things about getting old is the complete failure of one's Give A Fuck. Nowadays I'm like, HEY, READ MY FANFICTION or LOOK, I WENT TO A CONVENTION. Wear your niche interests proudly, my friends, because everyone's a nerd about something.

Marie Curie Babydoll (Think Geek, $18.99 from $20.99) As a kid, I read everything I could get my hands on about Marie Curie. She had an amazing life in addition to being a brilliant scientist. So when someone tells you "Cute shirt!" you can respond, "Thanks! Marie Curie was a badass."

Thor Hammer Cuff Bracelet (Think Geek, $18.49 from $36.99) I like this because it's subtle and stands on its own as a pretty piece of jewelry independent of its geekspiration.

Converse All Star Cheetara athletic shoe (Journeys, $29.99 from $59.99) Guys, DO NOT go back and try to rewatch Thundercats. You'll be so disappointed. Cheetara still looks awesome, though, so rock these shoes.

Star Wars Vehicles Cookie Cutters (Williams-Sonoma, $9.99 from $19.95) My 6-year-old nephew is super into a bunch of Star Wars stuff that I know nothing about (the Lego sets alone!), and he loves to tell me all about random characters and their adventures. But my favorite moment came last summer when he said, "Aunt Lyette, did you know Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker's father?" Um, yeah kid. I was aware of that.

Red (Threadless, $12.95 from $19.50 [t-shirt] @29.95 from $49.50 [hoodie]) All the women's t-shirts are sold out, but you can get a 2X men's shirt and wear it as a sleep-shirt, maybe? That's what I would do if I didn't think it's scare the snot out of Baby Razor if I walked into her room in the middle of the night wearing it.

Comic Gia (Kate Spade, $39 from $78) Less comics and more pop art, but still geek chic. Bright, cute, and useful.

Comic Relief Dress (ModCloth, $48.99 from $97.99) It's the BOINK! over the bosom that makes it, really.

He-Man DIY Paper Figure (Urban Outfitters, $1.99 from $6) There's a Skelator too! Keep them on your desk at work and make them fight.

Smaug's Cash 4 Gold (Busted Tees, $15 from $20) I'm just saying, there are two more Hobbit movies coming out and you're gonna need something to wear to opening night.

Doctor Who TARDIS Talking Cookie Jar (Think Geek, $26.99 from $29.99) Linked for my friend Leigh, who already has the TARDIS coffee pot. (How many TARDIS products do you think there are? Could someone do an all-TARDIS kitchen?)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

No Sample Sale this week! Instead, let me present you with "All About My Mom," as answered by Baby Razor, Age 3 and 3/4.

My mom is 5 years old.

My mom weighs I don't know because she is short.

My mom's favorite color is purple.

My mom's favorite food is egg salad.

My mom always says "I love you too."

Mom cooks the best macaroni.

My mom's job is to write and serve me food.

My mom laughs when I say gookey-ga.

If my mom had time, she would love to take a nap.

My mom & I like to play outside.

My mom really loves boats.

I LOVE my mom because she always gives me great hugs.

And here I was thinking she was the great hugger!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Sample Sale: Hey, Mama

Alternate titles:
Mama Said Knock You Out
Mama, OoooOOOOooooo (from Bohemian Rhapsody, obviously)

I had trouble with this one, because mothers are vast and contain multitudes. My mother likes decorating. I like comic books. Your mom might like hot rods. Or rock climbing. But if you're stumped for what to get her, hopefully this list will jumpstart your creativity.

Calla Lily Drinkware Set (Uncommon Goods, $49.99 from $100) Probably more decorative than functional, but it'll give your mom the idea of sharing lemonade and chatting with you, which is nice and probably something that mothers and children do somewhere, right?

Sunrise Stoneware Bowl (Terrain, $39.95 from $78) The key to giving home gifts is to know your mother's decorating concept. If your mother doesn't have a decorating concept, I don't know what to tell you. (My mother's house looks like a Better Homes & Gardens show-home for French Country.)

Jane Jeweled Frame (Z Gallerie, $14.99 from $24.95) Frames are nice if you have something cool to put in them. Don't put a picture of yourself, seriously, your mother has enough of those. 

Snow Gardenia Soap (Cisthene, $8 from $14) A big bar of soap is one of my go-to "I have run out of gift ideas" gifts. Get one with fancy packaging so if your giftee doesn't love the scent, he or she can use it as bathroom decoration. Liquid soaps in fancy glass bottles also work. (Bonus soap!)

Mughal Arabesques Umbrella (Metropolitan Museum of Art Store, $20 from $40) Unless your mom lives in Southern California, she needs an umbrella. And she probably buys all of hers from the drug store, because who the heck splurges on umbrellas? Splurge for her.

Grey Moonstone Filigree Earrings (Wendy Mink Jewelry, $40, sample sale) Jewelry is another gift where you have to know what your mother likes. My mom, for example, doesn't like long, dangly earrings. And I don't wear gold. But these are super pretty and maybe your mom would like them? (Bonus for moms with August birthdays: the green stones are peridot, the August birthstone.)

Leaf Headband (BCBG Max Azria, $12.60 from $18) I like this headband. I am a mom. Maybe my husband will actually read the sale post this week, who knows. (Baby Razor is off the hook because she can't read yet.)

Double R Ranch Co. Flank Steak (Williams Sonoma, $45.99 from $65) Only get this if your mom truly enjoys cooking. Otherwise she might be like, "That's great, now I have to do something with this." Or! Buy it and make dinner for her! Ooh, that'll get you major Favorite Kid points.

Prep Bowls (set of 5) (Sur La Table, $10.36 from $12.95) No matter what I'm cooking, I always need more bowls. And these have measurements on the sides, too. Not a particularly glamorous gift, but certainly a useful one.

Cosmos Blue Blossom Watering Can Gift Kit (Willard & May, $25.82 from $32.60) The Razor Family's Go To Mother's Day Gifts, 1983-present: coffee mugs and/or flower stuff. Giftees who love gardening are easy to shop for, because there is always something else that can be added to a garden.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weird, Wacky, Wonderful: Martini Junction

Months ago, Laura Olin linked to Atlas Obscura on Twitter. I'm always looking for things to do with Baby Razor, so I searched for anything near me. Lo and behold, there was something called Martini Junction only twenty minutes from my house.

A hundred and twenty feet of model railroad tracks in the middle of the woods? Yeah, that sounded like something a three-and-a-half-year-old would enjoy. Unfortunately, it was February and said woods were about to be under two feet of snow. But it sounded so charming that come the first warm spring day, G and I headed to Needham Woods to search for it.

Of course, we promptly took a wrong turn. But we had a lovely picnic lunch on a fallen log, and our poor navigation meant Mr. Razor could come with us on our second attempt this weekend.

Here's what you do: Drive to the Robinwood Avenue entrance to Needham Woods. Turn right and follow the path, which is marked by tiny faux-birdhouses with white tops.

Look for a path on your right, turn onto it, and look for this birdhouse:

Then follow the orange-topped birdhouses. It's a twisty, root-y, up & down trail, but it's not particularly difficult. Baby Razor didn't have any problem with it. It's aways down the trail. I started to get discouraged when we saw a set of houses to our right, because it meant we were near the edge of the woods again. But then we saw this:

A bit further along the path came this:

We started to get excited. More signposts along the trail led us to our destination:

We'd found it!

The tracks were a beautiful addition to the woodsy landscape, and it was obvious how much time and care had been put into building them.

But it turned out the tracks were just the beginning of Martini Junction's magic. The area is packed with tiny buildings, models, and tableaux.

I don't know how much was put there by the tracks' builder and how much was added by visitors. I know that the spot is popular with geocachers, who often add to a cache when they find it. Regardless, the scene above is particularly charming, since it depicts a craftsman with a model train, birdhouses like the ones lining the trails in Needham Woods, and what looks like a bottle of vermouth--essential to a proper martini. All signs point to this being a meta-commentary on The Creator of Martini Junction.

But I have to say, this was my favorite bit, although I have no idea if it was intentional or not:

See the book by the monkey's paw? Yeah. Awesome. Someone also took the time to print out a realistic-looking computer screen and glue it to the teeny computer. I love it.

There's so much more that I'm leaving out for hikers to discover on their own. If you go, you can listen to the water wheel

And enjoy a snack and a drink at the table & benches.

If you're really lucky, the builder will be there and you'll get to see the trains (which are kept in padlocked boxes underneath the benches) running on the tracks. We weren't that lucky this weekend, but we'll definitely be going back.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sample Sale: Boston, You're My Home

So...most of this stuff isn't actually on sale. But I've been a Bostonian for 15 years and I love this city so much. I figured it was only appropriate to share some stuff that reflects that love.

Charity Products

Boston Innovation has 11 Items that support marathon bombing victims. Above is my favorite, from Life is Good.

T token necklace ($32.50, 50% donation to Boston Children's Hospital in memory of Martin Richard.) Finding a token in my pocket used to make my day. I still have warm feelings for them more than five years after they went the way of the carrier pigeon.

Boston's not afraid of you pin ($1.75, all proceeds to the One Fund) It's true. Those creepy twins from The Shining could show up in a Bostonian's bathroom at 2 a.m. and she'd tell them to go fuck themselves.

Marathon route 8x10 poster ($35.00, all proceeds to the One Fund) Minimalist, poignant, and (I imagine) hugely motivating for 2014.

Boston Skyline Word Art Print  ($30.00, all proceeds to the One Fund) Just looking at the skyline gives me the warm fuzzies.

Forever Boston photo ($25, 50% of the proceeds to the One Fund) Yup, totally made me cry.

Map Products

Boston neighborhood map (Ork Posters, $22) In case you were wondering, I live in the least cool neighborhood.

Boston map necklace/earrings (Aminimal Studios, $40-$50) There are so many cities available in this line! You're all going to love/hate me.

Local Artisan Sale Products

Zooguu stuffed animals ($15-$90) Through May 1, you get a free size upgrade on whatever you order. Baby Razor has an elephant from them, and it is adorable, durable, and lovable.

Xylem earrings (Nervous System, $20-$25 from $40-$50) The only thing keeping me from buying these right now is my indecision over which color to get.