about the artist


What is SAD?

Animals react to the changing seasons with changes in mood, metabolism and behaviour and human beings are just the same. Most people find they eat and sleep slightly more in winter and dislike the dark mornings and short days. For some, however, symptoms are severe enough to disrupt their lives and to cause considerable distress. These people are suffering from SAD.

How does it affect people?
Sufferers have to endure most of the following:

Sleep problems – oversleeping but not refreshed, cannot get out of bed, needing a nap in the afternoon

Overeating – carbohydrate craving leading to weight gain

despair, misery, guilt, anxiety
– normal tasks become frustratingly difficult

Family / social problems
avoiding company, irritability, loss of libido, loss of feeling

Lethargy – too tired to cope, everything an effort

Physical symptoms
often joint pain or stomach problems, lowered resistance to infection

The symptoms tend to start from around September each year lasting until April, but are at their worst in the darkest months.

Found on this website.

OK, all my friends in California, who warned me; I am suffering. I have always had this. Had it really badly when I lived in the Northeast. but it pretty much went away after our move to California and I was fine in North Carolina.

So here is what I am doing:

Continuing to walk 10,000 steps, even in the rain
Ordered a rise and shine natural alarm clock.
Ordered a happy light for my computer corner.
Trying to limit my carb intake
Forcing my self to get in to the studio to work. I have full spectrum lights there.

So this is why you have not seen cheery posts from me or anything creative from the studio. Yesterday afternoon the sun came out and Mia and I took a walk on the Reed College campus. This is one of my favorite things to do ?’‚Η¨‚Δω take a one on one walk with Mia. She yada yada yadas about all sorts of things, and It is a delightful time. Yesterday, we found acorns under an oak tree which we collected to bring home. Last night was Mark’s last dinner with us. Steph brought chicken enchiladas – yuuuum!

Landscaping update: Mark is going home this afternoon and so Steve will have to finish putting the plants in the ground. It has been raining so much that the ground is too soggy to plant.

Before photo taken last spring:

The side walk will all be removed and a blue stone walk installed. The orange line shows the direction it will take. A stake marks the end of the line. There will be a blue stone landing there.


In this area, the concrete walk was removed and the blue stone installed.


Here is Mark doing his magic:


You can see that all the grass has been removed from the left of the walk way.

Here is final look of the area with plant placement:



This will change because they are out buying more plants this morning.

Time to walk the dog!

16 Responses to “SAD”

  1. Deb Hardman says:

    A lot of people have SAD here in Alaska. I probably do to a certain extent, but using the full spectrum lights ,(which we do here & at work)really helps. Keeping myself occupied, & getting out in the fresh air any chance you get, helps a lot too.

    You yard changes look lovely.

    Thanks for your comments on my post too!

  2. ginger says:

    hello hello…what a wonderful redone front yard….and those visting dogs…great! hope is an action word…and you are taking that action …good for you…Ginger

  3. Diane D. says:

    You’ve done so many wonderful things with your house and yard. The door made it wonderfully welcoming, and now this great landscaping! What a nice reflection of you.

    I bet if you’re feeling down and call M&M that they’d be happy to come over and brighten things up. I hope things seem better soon.

  4. MsLizF says:

    Knowing you have a problem (SAD) is important as now you can fix it. Living my whole life in California is nice but when the valley fog comes in and stayes for days on end, I get depressed too. Hope you feel better soon.

    Love what you are doing with the yard. Such an imporvemen!! Hate the old overgrown bushes that were there when you moved in. Love the new lighter look and the blue stone path. Please post more pictures when all the planting is done.

  5. teri says:

    As much as I love Michigan, we have limited sun days too (most people don’t realilze that we have about the same number of overcast days as the PNW) and I find myself napping a lot more. I do have full spectrum bulbs in the dye studio (thanks to you) and 3 Ott lights in the sewing studio. I am going to be doing some remodeling here at the condo now that I am moving here full-time and I think a full-spectrum light in the new fixture here in the sewing studio is a must….

    And the dog makes sure I take my walks!! Looking forward to some snow so I can break out the snowshoes again….it’s a great workout slogging through 6+ inches on those!


  6. DebR says:

    I hope all those things help alleviate your SAD-ness, Gerrie. I think the PNW would affect me exactly the same way, much as I think I’d like it in many other ways.

    Your landscaping project is looking nice!

  7. terry grant says:

    Hi Gerrie,
    My first winter in Portland was terrible. I was so depressed and very lonely as well. I still get down during the worst stretches of gray days on end, but I think it has gotten better as the years have gone by. When things get bad, give me a call and we can go look at art or fabric or something!

    Strange as it may seem, I have been quite blue here in St. Thomas today–it has rained steadily all day and I feel not only needing sunshine but wierdly uneasy about being “stuck” on this small island.

  8. PaMdora says:

    I used to have more bad days on kind of a monthly cycle until got my studio more set up and pleasant. I have all my fabrics stacked on shelves according to color, and very bright colors at that, so now I call my studio my “color therapy” room, I think it helps, maybe I have “color defeiset (sp?) disorder!” I know light affects me because I always get depressed right after day-light saving changes in the fall.

    And a couple of years ago when I was going through some of those miscarriages, I spent a lot of time at auctions because it was so relaxing to go to an auction at some stranger’s house or farm and just walk around all day and look at interesting stuff that I had no attachments to. I suggested to this to someone who was depressed, but maybe said it wrong, said she should go “shopping” and I think she took it wrong. I wasn’t trying to be friviolous, because I think there is some merit to the idea of getting out of your environment when you feel bad. Anyway, hope you’ll get to feeling better soon!

  9. bobbi says:

    hi, gerrie…SAD is new to me…mine came about after my cancer diagnosis a few years ago, but this year I feel like I’m closer to my pre-cancer self….I have always loved the fall and the cosy sound of rain on the roof and the feeling of snuggling in for the cooler weather.

    Like debbie, I’m thinking that blogging will be a help….also, I find I deliberately choose bright colors to work with in the winter, instead of my usual blue/green/copper, which I think of as NW colors…

    Natural spectrum bulbs in your studio should also help…

  10. Debbi says:

    Your yard looks great!

    I’ve have SAD for years. The doctor said I could take meds and I said no. I have learned to live with it. The past 2 years it has been worse because I have cancer. This year I hope blogging, talking to others and quilting will help.

  11. Kim says:

    ps. just in case you don’t know what fake-n-bake is – indoor suntanning. I go for the stand-up machine which is a double-intensity tan – but only spend a maximum of 10 minutes in there. It is where I go to workout- so that is helpful too.

  12. Kim says:

    I have SAD more now that I live in the Northwest also. I combatted it last winter by going to fake-n-bake three times a week. I have noticed that it is creeping back, but right now the cost to fake-n-bake is too much to do more than a few months, so I will wait until January-March when it is more neccisary – since those are our coldest months.

  13. jenclair says:

    I had one of the natural and gradual light alarm clocks for years and loved it! It made a big difference in my ability to get up at 5:00 AM and in my attitude.

    Love the way the color the plants bring to a grey day!

  14. lisa says:

    keep it up, mom!!! soon i will be up there to keep you cheery. the yard is looking beautiful!

  15. I love the limey colored plants with your red brick house. They cheer up the gloomy grey weather as well. But, I bet Mark knows all that (and that lime greenm is your fave) and chose those on purpose! We’re embracing the seasonal change here. It’s all “new wine” and onion tart at the market stands, which will lead into St. Martin’s day in November with warm lantern parades, and then on to a December filled with the smells of mulled wine, lebkuchen and bratwursts. Yummm — that and sparkly Xmas lights cheer up the greyest months πŸ™‚

  16. Karoda says:

    Gerrie, the landscaping is coming along and will be gorgeous when its complete.

    I’m going to try to come up with a routine similiar to yours…today has been such a bust. We’ve had a long stretch of gray overcasts that even being outside hasn’t brightened my mood. Does music help you?