Well, in all the excitement of marathon training and discovering the joys of pie crust (see tomorrow’s post) I somehow managed to completely lose the partially finished blog post that was to have been titled, “The Swedish Horse of Depression – How IKEA and my insufficient language skills took a perfectly reasonable quaint winter custom and turned it into something else entirely.” I will attempt to recreate that post here for your reading pleasure.
Let me explain. No, it will take too long, let me sum up.
I’ve been battling pretty hard this winter against depression. I don’t know if it’s just a really bad case of SAD, or something less winter-dependent. In any case, there have been days (weeks, really) where getting out of bed is hard, I’m so tired I feel like I can’t do anything, and that the parts of my brain that deal with decisions and anything more intellectual than watching the Musketeers on the BBC iplayer are a bit beyond my abilities. My poor Wife has been doing her best to remain cheerful and helpful throughout, but I know it’s not easy for her.
Anyway, so in a cheering-up expedition about a month or so ago, we went to IKEA, because where else would you go to remember all that is good in life? As we were heading out with our haul of meatballs, kitchen tools, bedding, and more nondescript shelving, I saw something colorful and adorable on a shelf in the food area.
It was this. A chocolate horse wrapped in brightly colored foil. I read the German description of how the Swedes would make these colorful items for their children during the long dark winter nights. And I thought, “Of course! That’s brilliant! Making chocolates during the winter to help ward off the depression that comes with twenty hours of darkness a day! We must have one!”
I then proceeded to embellish the tale with the idea that at winter’s end, there would be a great party at which much chocolate would be consumed, after the chocolate horses were broken in ceremonial fashion to signify the end of the long night and the coming of spring. It was so logical and clear in my head that I was utterly convinced that that must be what the Swedes were doing.
Then, of course, I said all this out loud to the Wife (who shall be known henceforth as the Wife Who Knows All Things about All Things, Especially Swedish Customs and IKEA Related Trivia or W.WKATATESCIRT for short) who immediately said as anyone who doesn’t inhabit my brain and correctly interpreted the explanatory sign would, “Well, no. Those horses were wood. They were brightly painted toys.” So then I was left with the question of why? Why would IKEA mislead us so?
And then I realized something Important. It didn’t matter. If the Ceremonial Breaking of the Chocolate Horse of Depression ™ was going to help me, then that is what we were going to do. And we did.
We set the Chocolate Horse of Depression ™ on the table in a suitably danger-free area.
Behold, the Chocolate Horse of Depression. (as sold by IKEA)
Then I got one of my wooden swords out. My favorite wooden sword, in fact. (Yes, I have a favorite wooden sword. Doesn’t everyone?)
You can’t actually see me in the picture, but trust me, I’m on the other end of the wooden stick. I believe this shot is actually me in mid-swing. Devil-kitty is not impressed.
And then I smashed the adorable, brightly-colored Chocolate Horse of Depression ™ with a few well-placed blows.
The first of which cracked it pretty neatly open.
And after the thing was reduced to tiny little pieces, it was transferred to a bowl and symbolically consumed (Actually, no. It was literally consumed. But with symbolic meaning.)
Also, note our really clever and cool coffee table. Which is a cheap IKEA table with a sheet of glass over it and a nice selection of our race numbers as decoration.
So that is the quaint Swedish custom of breaking and eating the Chocolate Horse of Depression ™ at the end of a long winter. And I am doing better. But I have no idea if that has to do with the ceremony, the coming of spring, the 50 miles a week I’m running (And that’s a post for another day. The one about how I usually use exercise to help manage my generally mild to moderate depression, but when I reach the level of marathon and ironman training and it’s not helping, then I know there’s something NOT RIGHT with my stupid head.) or just some other utterly random event that set my brain chemistry back on the upswing to normal. In any case, I think we will be breaking the Chocolate Horse of Depression ™ every winter, possibly more than once, if necessary.
Training update: Last week was a cutback week, so only 42 miles, the week before was 52 miles and this week is another 53 miles. It’s my last high-mileage week before tapering starts. And I am right there on that razor’s edge of overtrained, so I think I did it right this time around.
Here is the teaser for tomorrow’s post:
My entirely homemade strawberry-rhubarb pie just after getting its egg yolk sponge bath and just before it went into the oven. Tune in tomorrow to see what it looked like after it was baked, along with the recipe.
I’ll be posting the recipe tomorrow because this is possibly the best pie I’ve ever made. It’s so good that I’m going to be making it again for my mother-in-law this weekend when they are visiting for Easter.
And finally, Devil-kitty looking especially silly:
Devil-kitty, who should possibly be called Derpy-kitty based on this photo.