Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gray Days

We have been having a very gray spell around here for some time now. And, again, I know I really can't complain about a southern Italian winter as compared to say...a frozen tundra or a northern clime where the sun only shines a few hours a day. But gray day after gray day can really get a girl down.

When I first moved here I would laugh at the people who would tell me they were "meteopatico." This is a word that doesn't seem to actually exist in the dictionaries. What it means is "a person whose moods are affected by the weather."

Well, that just seemed like the height of self-indulgent mollycoddling to me at the time! Like the way they would complain that the weather was "ruined" when a single cloud would mar the otherwise pristine blue sky in summer. I mean, come on, get over it! What's a little cloud in the sky? What's a string of gray days? Life goes on just fine despite these teeny, tiny inconveniences.

And yet, here I am. Feeling gray because we've had nothing but gray days for the past couple of weeks. I'm afraid I may be turning...meteopathic...or maybe even meteopathetic!

So, to defend myself from feeling stupid on top of gray, I did I little poking around on the web and discovered that this weather-affecting-one's-mood thing actually does exist. If you don't believe me just click here, or here, or even here and then tell me what you think! There's even a more serious condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, which as an acronym communicates so much!

My approach to the grayness is activity. Getting out of the house, meeting up with friends, going to the gym, perusing the sales at the shops, taking photographs, whatever. The key for me seems to be to get moving, be with other people and not hole up at home.

So, speaking of which, I'm out of here. Smile and have a sunny outlook, even if there's no sun when you look out the window!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Boys, A Survival Guide

So, I'm looking for a book with the above title. Can anyone help me out here? Or maybe I just need an encouraging word or two...from other mothers of past or present 12-year-old boys...

My older son is a good kid. Rather intense, a bit impulsive verbally, often annoying and rude at home, but everyone loves him. He's got a million friends, wins over any adult he sets his mind to winning over, his teachers always say he's a positive presence in the classroom.

He's always been very cautious physically, not the type of kid who would put himself in any kind of danger or take unnecessary risks. Until recently...

So, maybe it's the 12-year-old hormone surge? I should have suspected something when he started doing "free-running" with his buddies after school every day. If you don't know, free-running is a sport involving jumping onto, over and around various elements in the urban landscape. You know, benches, low walls, stairways, cars (!), etc.

Yesterday he ended up in the emergency room after slamming an apartment building front door so hard that the whole plate-glass window broke. No serious harm was done (except to the window!) and no stitches were needed. Nobody died and nobody got too angry at anybody else.

I'm just wondering how long it's going to take him to grow out of this phase. Hopefully before he gets a driving license!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baby It's Cold Inside

I know I shouldn't fuss about the weather. After all, there are more serious things to worry about these days and I am thankful that I have all the creature comforts that I do. And I certainly don't live anywhere truly frigid like Sweden or Minnesota. But, we have been having quite a cold spell here in southern Italy. I mean, 3, 4, 5 degrees celcius (that's 37 to 41 degrees Farenheit) is pretty chilly, especially when it's about the same temperature inside the house as it is outside!

We do have central heating in my house, but the house is 200 square meters and to warm it up even minimally means running up a very steep heating bill. Last year we installed 24 solar panels on our roof and two large electrically powered air-conditioner/heating units in the hopes of eventually saving well as protecting the environment. The electric heaters usually work fine, but during this cold spell they have not been enough.

I am a real wimp about the cold, I have a hard time warming up and my hands and feet turn into ice cubes, so I have adopted the very attractive, very sexy, "indoors heavy dressing" technique. I have fleece pants over nylons, a wool undershirt, a wool top, two fleece jackets, wool fingerless gloves and...the heavy-duty no-slip Little Red Ridinghood slipper socks!