My Winter Ennui

You know that whole S.A.D. thing, that Seasonal Affect Disorder where you get all listless and depressed in the winter and you need one of those light box thingys to reset your body clock, or something?

Yeah, I think I have that.

Except for the depressed part. I don’t really feel depressed. And I don’t really want to climb back into bed and sleep all day, and I’m not grouchy or catatonic or weepy. Basically, I’m just PROFOUNDLY READY FOR SPRINGTIME TO GET HERE; but that doesn’t get its own acronym or the cool light box thingy, so I’m sticking with the S.A.D. self-diagnosis. That definitely has more gravitas than saying I’m just longing to see bright yellow sunshine streaming through my windows and to sit out on the porch swing swigging watermelon lemonade and waving at cars again…  But dang, I really am.

1light box

Part of my lethargy might be because I just don’t really do as much when the weather is crummy. Russ and I are rarely venturing out on our evening constitutional walk around the neighborhood these days, which I miss. Yes, we realize we are weenies but we have an aversion to freezing our faces off. We did take advantage of a brief 50-something-degree day recently and ‘put our feet on our town’ as we like to say. It helped, but frankly it’s just not as much fun when it’s more of a brisk walk than a leisurely stroll. We definitely don’t run into as many of our friends around here as we do the rest of the year, because I guess everybody else is sort of hibernating, too. Honestly, I am just plain OVER the cold, monochromatic days of February… Color me poised and ready for spring.

So. What’s life like where you guys are? Let’s consider this blog post a conversation, rather than an essay– I’m not being polite, I’m actually interested in how you are doing and what’s going on, so talk to me, people!

OK, I’ll start.

Besides my Seasonal Affect Disorder– please feel free to add me to your church’s prayer chain– life is rocking along here in the Buckle. I definitely miss my new-best-friend Kimi-from-up-the-street, who now stays over in Nashville during the school week and only comes home on the weekends. (Message to Kimi: Ok, this isn’t cute any more, forget all that “understanding friend” crap I fed you when you first started commuting– you need to BE HERE RIGHT NOW! *stamps foot*) Let’s see, what else… Oh, I finally hung Mama’s bird feeder from a branch on the magnolia tree in the front yard, and it’s doing a booming business. I’ll never get as many cardinals as she did, but we sure have our share, which makes me smile every time I see those flashes of red among the waxy green magnolia leaves. Mom used to call me and give me the daily report– “I won’t keep you, I just had to tell you I counted 13 cardinals at the feeder this morning!”

Remember this picture from her back yard?


We only have the starter-kit version going on so far…


In other critter-related news, due to the ridiculously low temperatures lately, the two porch cats we inherited with the house have now intermittently (and TEMPORARILY) become parlor cats–


That’s Porch Cat, aka Porchy. She’s too cool for everything.


And that’s Bitch Cat, aka Bitchy. Look deep into her eyes and you’ll start to see how she got her name.

The dogs, as you can imagine, are THRILLED with this new development.


As is Russ.

How I EVER ended up with man who tolerates but is most definitely not completely enamored with all things furry and feathered, I’ll never know– but, not unlike what I did with mushrooms when we first got married, I still hold out hope that repeated exposure will someday result in Russ waking up one morning, sitting bolt upright in bed and announcing, “You know what we need around here? A PUPPY!” It hasn’t happened yet with mushrooms, but he eats them in my spaghetti sauce, etc. all the time and hasn’t vomited or run screaming from the table so, yeah, I think it’s working.

Speaking of God’s creatures, Madi Rose recently got a fish. Ok, she got two fishes, the first one croaked. They’re betta (beta?) fish, you know those surly ones that are in those way-too-little containers at PetSmart and you can only get one because if you get two they’ll kill each other? Yeah, never appealed to me, but that child has yet to meet an animal she doesn’t immediately start talking baby-talk to and wants to cuddle, so it kind of stands to reason that she’d find them adorable. It took her two days to settle on The Perfect Name for the first one, and she made it a veritable Betta Fish Palace in a tricked out jumbo-sized former pickle jar in her apartment bedroom. (Don’t worry, she totally cleaned it out and soaked it, blah blah blah, that’s not what killed the fish. She Googled it, so she knows.) However she found out the hard way that they are apparently ULTRA sensitive to temperature changes in their water… Oops. She was horrified of course, and in her typical low-key way she posted a flurry of tweets expressing her feelings:

1MADItheTAFFThen after a proper grieving period of 24 hours or so, she got back on the horse and got another fish (to mix metaphors.) I tried to get her to name this one Sid Fishus, but she passed– so far it just has a nickname:



Hmm, what else…

Oh yeah, I took Charlotte up to Indiana to ski with some of her school friends last week. She has never had a pair of skis on in her life, but in classic Charlo fashion, she had a ball– fell a lot, but with the attentive administrations of her friend Eric and his sweet dad, she managed to stay out there and have fun for HOURS. She also perfected the art of butt-skiing, and I have the photos to prove it. When they finally took a break to eat something, Charlotte came bouncing in all red-cheeked and smiling, so I asked her if she was getting the hang of it and she cheerily said, “No, I totally suck, AND I am terrified out of my mind every single minute!” Then she happily headed out again and I didn’t see her again for a few hours.




(I’m so glad we had kids. I just love those girls.)

Well, that about covers it around here, so now it’s your turn–  what’s up?

15 Responses

  1. LindaB

    Okay. I’ll go first. Even though I don’t like to talk too much. ;)

    This winter has been brutal here in Michigan. Bitter cold temps and mountains of snow piled up everywhere! I’ve always enjoyed it when it snows, but this year I’m getting a little tired of it.

    As for activities, nothing cool like skiing or snowmobiling. My brothers and sister and I are taking turns caring for my 85 year old mother. She took a fall in June and had several seizures in the hospital and now can’t be left alone. She is adamant that she doesn’t want to go to a nursing home or assisted living, so we are doing our best to keep her at her home. My month to be on “Mom duty” is February and with this snow and ice, it’s very tricky to get her to a doctors appointments without slipping and falling…..her or myself! And I think she’s got that S.A.D. thing you’re talking about. That and she’s grieving over the fact that her doctor took her driver’s license away. Every day she informs me that she can drive just as good as I can! (And if you knew how I drive, you’d know that is a very weak argument.) But we had a good day today—-took her to the doctor and got a good report on her painful shoulder (no surgery), ate lunch at Olive Garden, and bought a boatload of food at Sam’s Club, and didn’t fall once! And though it was chilly, it was sunny! I enjoyed it and I think she did too. So it’s all good. We don’t need a light box. Just give us lunch and a driver’s license.

  2. tori

    LindaB: Aw, girl, hate to hear that your mom is having a hard time– I still remember how much fun she was when you guys threw that party for Russ at Family Fest! Please give her my love… And hey, lunch at Olive Garden and an afternoon at Sam’s Club sounds like a party to me!

  3. gracelynn

    This winter is WAY TOOOOOOOOOOOOO LONG! Especially living in a house where the roles have reversed and you are now the parent and your parent(s) are more like the child(ren). SIGH! I have mornings that if I turn on that TV and I hear Skip, the weatherman, even mention the idea of snow, I want to throw something large at him. I need my time at work just so I can get out of this for a little while and rest. (Yes, I actually get REST at my job; that is ironic isn’t it?) Having survived Snowstorm Leon and being home for 5 straight days with these 2, I was never happier than to get back to my office on the campus at the college. PHEW! And then this new wave came. SIGH….but only a two-hour delay tomorrow. Right now, I’d love nothing more than a good cup of Starbucks coffee and some peaceful R&R. Linda, my heart goes out to you. My dad has fibromyalgia and neuropathy among other issues and my mother suffers from Crohn’s. Dad’s condition only makes hers worse, worrying over him. So I know and understand how it is having to care for loved ones. On top of that battle, we have lost two of our pets – my cat and my father’s horse. So my sympathies to Madi on the loss of her fish. It is so nice some mornings when it is quiet and I can get up, make my coffee in the Keurig, and watch the birds in our backyard as I drink my Sumatra. Then the daily battles begin of course. So love your pictures of the cardinals, Tori. Hopefully if I can make it through the next wave of snow and once this month passes, I can take a short trip and get some rest for myself. Thankfully, God has allowed my cousins from Tennessee to move back to our area so I finally have some loved ones in this area again and it’s so nice to have them this close to home again. Makes this battle just a little easier to fight.

  4. delightedabroad

    On this side of the atlantic we haven’t had a real winter yet. Yes, there were a few days of cold but without snow. Instead, we had a lot of rainy days. So agree with you: I’m longing for spring time.
    I’m thankful for the bunch of kids who come to me for tuition lessons (eather English or French)and for the documents I had to translate. To me, work is as much a time of rest as to you gracelynn. Because at home it’s rather stressul: Hubby isn’t doing well at all and not really willing to change some important things,too. Well yes, in the light of a family’s loss of a child it’s not that bad. Anyway, I learned that each and every one of us has his/her own burden to carry. And God at our side who helps as continue.

  5. delightedabroad

    Sorry, I meant “to continue” :-/

  6. blondie

    delightedabroad, can you believe this lack of weather? It’s like upside down world – my family in Texas had snow and we’ve had nothing here in Germany! Crazy!
    Tori, I know what you mean about being ready for Spring. On the few days the sun actually makes an appearance, I race around the house like a crazy person, making sure all the blinds (rolladens) are open to let in every smidgeon of sunlight I can. I’m watching the rain as we speak.
    Other than that, it’s life as usual around here. My sister and her family came to visit for Christmas so we drug them around Germany and toured them to death and it was SO FUN. ;)
    I’m so sorry Madi’s fish is no more, but dang, that girl is funny! Reading that series of tweets was the equivalent of a big ol’ ray of sunshine coming in my window. Thanks! Give her and Char a hug from me.

  7. rachelbaker

    Last Sunday evening I was watching my 9 year old dance in a ballet called ‘when winter comes, can spring be far behind?’ It was beautiful and full of hope.

    I too can’t wait for spring to come, but there seems to be an unsaid rule for the people of the north east of England at the moment. We will not complain about the weather. Firstly, last winter the first snowfall was in October and the last was in April. This year, we’ve had a dusting, once. I have only had to scrape ice off the car three times all winter. Secondly, most of our country is suffering appalling devastation from flooding and hurricane force winds. We, on the other hand, well known for our less than favourable climate, have had some heavy showers, a few gusts of wind and a good number of sunny, milder-than-usual days. This winter, compared with the alternatives, has been a good one.

    All that being said, this time last year I was in New Zealand, and I do long for a time when I will be ‘warm to the bones’ again. I’m just a summer person I guess.

    Next week the kids are off school and we’re taking them to Disneyland Paris. I don’t imagine the weather will be anything remotely springlike but it should at least brighten the atmosphere.

  8. bettyrwoodward

    Well we were having a break in ‘sunny’ Cornwall this week but it has been very wet and windy. The forecast for the rest of the week was so bad that we have come home today. They say that Cornwall will get a months rainfall tomorrow so we came back today in case we couldn’t make it on Saturday. We did see some snow on the way home but only a sprinkling. The flooding in Berkshire and Somerset is really bad. One advantage of the high winds was some beautiful waves.
    Yes we are very much looking forward to Spring!

  9. Gramma Jac

    It has been a LONG winter here in Wisconsin too! Sometime in November, my youngest started to have complications with her pregnancy–so was in and out of the hospital. I’d go to work during the day then sometimes be up half the night in the hospital with her, then back to work! Baby girl Landynn arrived December 26th (high point) by semi-emergency c-sec then a stay in the NICU. (More working during the day, night at the hospital!) Oldest daughter, son-in-law and Grandsons arrived 12/29 (another high point) then we all immediately started passing the flu around. Picture 8 people trapped in a little house! As kids got a little healthier (week 2 of their visit), we tried to let them have a little winter fun but then the SUB-SUB zero temps started. Like 50+ degrees below zero windchill. Picture more days of 7 people trapped in a little house (son-in-law, who was raised in Southern CA. happily went back to WA to work!!)

    Caitlin and boys returned to WA–I continued to work during the day (more about that later) and tried to help Lia with the baby. Daddy works second shift–Lia was having trouble with breastfeeding, healing from c-sec–and hopefully just winter blues not postpartum depression.

    My job was another stress–I’m a Speech Pathologist in nursing homes. FIVE nursing homes with a daily circuit of 160 miles–and I HATE winter driving. So in the midst of it all, I got a new job. Loved my facilities and the people I worked with–hated the drive. So today was my last day–Monday I start the new job (actually a former job I’m returning to). But bittersweet to say good-bye!!

    So, while nothing has been horribly wrong (and much has been very RIGHT–gramma heaven having them all here!), it’s just been stressful and LONG!!! I personally will dance a jig when robins and tulips arrive. (Tho’ I may have to fit in jig-dancing lessons!)

    Oh one other winter irony: dear 102-year old lady died here. Our former pastor flew here a couple of days ago to officiate. On Facebook his wife said it was strange–that he might not make it to Wisconsin because of an ice storm where they live now–in Georgia!!!! Weird weather! (But God was good and he made it!)

    So good to hear from all of you!! More please!!! Oh, and a belated Happy New Year!!

  10. tori

    gracelynn: You are a survivor, girl– proud of you for hanging in there with all of the discord at home… So glad your cousins are closer, now. (And I love Sumatra, too!)

    delightedabroad: Sending you love and encouragement– (and some of our nippy weather too, if I could!)

    blondie: I WISH we could get to your neck of the woods and have you wear us out by touring all over, too! Who knows, maybe someday… Russ just ends up working mostly in the Scandanavian countries every time we venture abroad– can’t believe we have family in Germany and we haven’t taken gross advantage of it yet!Love and hugs from all the Taffs.

    rachelbaker: OK, we’re gonna need to hear ALL about Disneyland Paris– with pictures, if you get some! So glad the flooding and winds have missed you all. Starting to sound like it is a crazy winter everywhere.

    bettyrwoodward: I’ve also got Cornwall on my list of places to see… :)

    Gramma Jac: Sounds like ‘grandma heaven,’ indeed– except for the trapped in the house, part! Please let us know how the new job is going– do you still have friends/coworkers there that you knew from before?

  11. bettyrwoodward

    Tori. Cornwall needs a decent length of stay to do it justice. Come over to us and we’ll take you down there (for at least a week!)

  12. auburn60

    Weeelll…I like winter. I like all winter holidays, I like sweaters and scarves, I like taking pictures of snow and stark trees against the winter skyline… I like fireplaces and my bed covered in quilts made by long-dead family members. I really don’t even mind gray days. Sorry, I guess I’m weird.

    We did have one night during the most recent ice storm where we had a power outage overnight and I realized I am not nearly as prepared for disaster as I thought I was. I was tripping over cats and a dog while trying to find flashlights, candles or even one simple match. All but one flashlight had dead batteries. So now I’m motivated to get all that stuff together for tornado season.

    I am seeing more red cardinals in my back yard, but I’m not sure how to attract them. Any suggestions? I would gladly trade this huge woodpecker that makes so much noise for a whole flock of cardinals. (Flock? IDK)

  13. bettyrwoodward

    auburn60 I love the snow as well but this year we haven’t had a single flake here in Essex. I have an understanding with another lady of my age in the church that any time we have enough snow we meet in the church car park and make a snow man but NO snow!

  14. mcbennett84

    Sorry for all the “bad” feeling for this winter. I am in the Sunshine state. The lowest that is got here was 35 degrees and that is cold but no snow.Right now is 80 degrees.
    Pray that it start to warm up for all of you in the north.

  15. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Okay, are you ready?

    Within a period of three weeks (at least I think it was three weeks) we had an ice storm, a 4.1 earthquake,and a house full of people coming for baths and water to flush their potties. Some who had no power for a week even stayed overnight with me. Believe it or not it was fun. But poor old Aiken, SC still looks like a battle ground with so many huge trees down. And did I mention there were frequent warnings of tornadoes?

    Fortunately, I kept my heat, along with a gas log fireplace, but I did lose telephone service and computer service for a time. When we did have internet service my great-grandson was on the computer being home-schooled. We ran out of bread but no one seemed to mind that wse had to substitute hot biscuits.

    I used to complain that we never had any snow. I’ve given up that moan… least until we have a summer-long thaw.

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