30 November 2010

Project Blizzard

sunrises in November are the most radiant
warm fingers!
backpack buddies
tiny sock heaven
indoor winter pepper buds
indoor tomato
A Hard Year's Work
Snowflake Sunrise
I was so excited to accidentally stumble upon Project Smile because I, too, suffer from lack of daylight during winter, and it forces me to battle bouts of depression.

All winter long, I tell myself I have nothing to be depressed about. I fight to maintain a smile even when tears are looking for any means of escape. November is always one of the most difficult months for me, perhaps due in part to the time change. I've worked very hard to minimize the pressure I put on myself during November during the last couple of years. I try to be more realistic about the goals I set, and I realize, when unexpected and unwanted sadness hits, it's up to me to try to find daylight and time for me.

Project Smile provides me with a new technique to winter fight depression. It challenges me to find reasons to smile instead of fighting tears I often don't understand.

I don't get the daylight I crave in November, and work and volunteer deadlines keep me off my bike, away from my camera and mostly indoors. So I wasn't able to go searching for my favorite kinds of smiles this month, but I did manage to pull off quite a few.

One of my best November smiles was not a photo, but was so overwhelming, I have to share it. I made The Lizard's favorite treat, a homemade German chocolate cake with no sugar (although he probably likes it just fine WITH sugar!!!). I'd been threatening all summer to throw some coconut in the cake next time I made it, not just the icing, and this time, I finally followed through.

The Lizard happily devoured his first piece. He dove in for seconds. He took a big bite, then pulled this tan-colored, baked paper-looking thing out of his cake and dashed up the stairs to inquire, "What's this?!?"

"Coconut. Fresh, tasty coconut," I responded. He stared at it quizzically for a moment, then stuffed the swollen bite of chocolate-soiled coconut in his mouth, chewed and smiled.

"Oh, okay," he grinned. "I knew you wouldn't try to poison me or anything like that."

Not on your life!!!

Be sure to check out the other Project Smile posts, and keep smiling! We're going to make it through two more dark months!


  1. Thank you for your wonderful photos, your inspiration to help others by volunteering and in reaching out to those who suffer with depression especially this time of year.

  2. Yeah, I feel the same way in November grrrr.

    But, I have yarns for a lace shawl, candles and Hot Dogs, great :D.

  3. That made me smile! Cute story! You know will make me smile? When I am DONE DONE DONE with my quarter! DONE, I TELL YOU! (Clearly, I am not done yet.)

  4. Your photographs did bring a smile, thank you for sharing ;)

  5. Thank you for saying out loud exactly what rolls around inside my head every year as we begin the downward slide into (for us) the next four months of dark and cold. November through February, it is dark, brutally cold and pitifully devoid of sun at this latitude.

    Looking up and looking out, extending a hand to someone else- makes an enormous difference. The Dark is kept at bay when we're lit from within with that spark that says we matter to someone else.

    You make a world of difference and brighten more than just your corner of the world just by showing up. I'll light a candle for you and for me and pedal a couple extra miles on the trainer (with a smile instead of a growl) just knowing that I'm in good company.

  6. is the red one a tomato? They came in different shapes nowadays.

    How do you get time for all that knitting work? But I guess you are a fast knitter. :)

    We have the pink starflower too, I have a photo of that one on NFP.

  7. Thanks for sharing your struggle, a have friends who suffer in the same way and a can appreciate a little how hard things are for you. As full time carer to my bedridden daughter I am in effect housebound and have often been feeling as you describe. I love your photo's and your cute cake story. Hope you continue to find smiles to help you through this winter. Hugs lin

  8. Ha! Sweet trusting Lizard :)) What a sweet story. I think every outdoorsy person struggles with the long dark days of winter. But, your lovely photos brought a smile to my face and to many others I am sure...

  9. Your photos made me smile, as well as the story about the cake. That actually made my mouth water too!

  10. I love the photos, and I totally get the struggling with depression, i think its a lot of the lack on sunshine it just makes me feel so bleh! But i looove all the christmasy pictures, makes my heart happy

  11. The way you handle depression is much better than taking something for it..

    Coconut in a cake is a good thing! So funny about The Lizard saying that....:D

  12. I couldn't image days and days of darkness. I'm glad you found this too. I hope this really helps you keep the smiles on your face. Beautiful pictures!

  13. I loved your photos - especially the little booties - they definitely made me smile! Wishing you many smiles over the holidays and in the upcoming months!

  14. Beautiful photos. I especially love that first one and the one with the booties.
    Thank you for your words of honesty and sharing your struggle with us.
    And I'm glad you weren't going to poison him - cute :)

  15. That first photo is stunning! Wow.

    I find myself driving sometimes, and desperately wanting to stop right where i am to photograph the sky. I generally can't stop... I'm so glad that you captured that moment in the first photo!

  16. I knew you wouldn't try to poison me or anything like that??? That's the kind of comment that will get you poisoned!!! That whole winter depression thing is one of the reasons I enjoy Phoenix so much. The in-laws stayed with us for 5 weeks once, from Thanksgiving to New Years, and my FIL got up one morning, looked out the window at the sunshine and growled, "Is it always this damn nice here?" He's from Denver. =D Beautiful photos - thanks for sharing.

  17. Beautiful post. I love that you are so honest about the struggles you and I know so many others deal with. It is the same for me and this month has been especially trying for me. It does force me to look at things differently and I appreciate it for that. That first pic is amazing!! And what a wonderful smile worthy cake. Thanks so much for sharing. You have certainly brought a smile to my face.


Dusty words lying under carpets,
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You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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