I’ve Got The Winter Blahs

Winter seemingly weighs me down like the heavy snow blanketing my front yard. Stepping out my door to fetch the mail, I slip on the thick ice, skid, but don’t fall. I take a tentative step forward as my nose hairs frost over and snow fills my boots. I’d hoped to lightly skim across the top of the deep snow drift that was once a cleared path only days before, butImage sink to my knees. Sigh. I finally make it to retrieve the mail, hoping to find a birthday card or my tax refund, but return with our propane bill that is double what it normally is (and unfortunately for me my salary is not). Winter, you’ve sapped my energy. I’m tapped and tired, although that may be more the fault of the influenza I’ve caught despite the flu shot I got. Lying in bed, I try to rest and force fluids, but instead obsess about the bills that are late, the work I’m missing, being a better mom to my children, helping my husband finding a better job that he likes, the book I don’t feel like writing and the half-marathon training I’m now falling behind in.  Much like the snow, the ice, the snow, the bitter cold, the snow, the snow, the snow (did I mention the snow?), my negative thinking blasts me.

Enough already! It has to stop. While I can’t control ‘old man winter,’ I can control my thoughts. I can choose to see the ‘silver linings’ and remember trying times only make me stronger. I can focus on the positives and smile.  I can live mindfully, but purposefully; moving forward, not dwelling on past mistakes nor worrying about the unknown, following my instincts without fear or second-guessing. I can look back to where I was and be proud of where I am now. I can look ahead and know better days are coming. They always do. As Elsa, in the movie, Frozen (hmmm…any coincidence that we too are frozen?), sings, “Let It Go, Let It Go…”  Yes, I need to take that advice. That will be hard, but not impossible. Starting now. Ready, set, go!

Here are five positive things about winter:

1. The beautiful ice crystals outlining the trees in my backyard contrasted again a clear blue sky

2. Snuggling on the couch under a warm comforter with my daughters on a snow day

3. Noticing the daylight lasts slightly longer each day

4. Seeing the smiles on my daughters’ faces as they point to the snow fort they just built

5. A ten-day forecast that shows a high of 51 degrees for next Thursday

And, now I think I will snuggle under that comforter (after drinking some more water of course) and take a nap. I’m feeling better already…Who knows maybe when I wake up it will all have been a dream and the flu along with snow will all be gone:)

Anyone else feeling the winter blues? What do you do to shake it off?

Boots, Diet Coke and Other Stuff that Make Me Smile

As I lay in bed last night wide awake listening to that January northwest Ohio wind do its thing outside, I realized that today is the last day of January and I had yet to blog this month. Not that anyone noticed or even really cares (except maybe my twin nephews. Love you guys!), but I do like to write and blather on. And once upon a time I made a goal or a resolution or something or other to at least blog once or twice a month and pending this post I would have failed. And I so hate failure, especially mine. Although I know if you must sometimes fail to succeed, I still don’t have to like it.

So I mentally went over the past month pondering what topic I should wax upon today without seeming whiny or bitchy or depressing. The whole point is to make someone smile as they read along. If I get one smile, it’s all good. I don’t do January resolutions as my birthday is in February, so in my book, the new year doesn’t actually start for me until then. I don’t have a rock star life style so nothing extra exciting on that end either. Religion? No Politics? Definitely No? What then?  I went back to the smile. What makes me smile? I like it. So here it goes this last day in January the five things that make me smile the most at least today anyway.

2013-01-31 07.33.09Cute Cards from My Kids
My daughters make me smile on a daily basis. My girls make me want to pull my hair out on a daily basis. My kindergarten daughter has proved to be challenging. One day I’ll hear words like “Do you have the biggest butt at your work, Mommy???” as she barges into the bathroom as I’m squeezing into my jeans or “Your hair looks ugly” as the stylist finishes a new hair cut or “You look like a witch” after I finish applying eye makeup pour out of her mouth. I can hardly wait to hear what she comes up with as a teenager. She’s quick to repent though and when the “what did you say?” comes out of my mouth, she’ll tell me “I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings” (you didn’t, sniff, sniff) or “you’re pretty Mom” (too little, too late). She can also be very kind and loving when she wants to be. Last Friday I had surgery to remove my gall bladder. She’s been very caring and concerned. She’s brought my cards home from school every day this week telling me how much she loves me and how I’m the best mom in the world. These little notes and the ones from my other daughter from days past hang on my cubicle walls and on the mirror in my bedroom. They always put a smile on my face.

2013-01-31 08.28.22Cappuccino and Diet Coke
Yes I am predictable and have certain rituals. One of those being that every morning I walk down to the corner Shell station and get two 20 ounce Diet Cokes and in the winter a yummy Cappuccino (today’s blend is chocolate-covered strawberry). I know both these addictions will not help the cause of my yet to be set resolution to lose weight, but oh well. I can’t seem to give them up. And sure I could save money by getting a twelve pack or a two liter or whatever, but I like taking my walk and talking to the girls that work there. I always have a smile on my face when I leave.

2013-01-23 20.10.08Boots, Sandals and Handbags
Shoes, shoe, shoes. Yes! I love my shoes. In the winter, it’s the boots. In the summer, it’s the sandals. And purses? You can’t have enough of those. A dear friend of mine always gets a new purse at the beginning of each season. An awesome idea, that I have joined her in. A new bag on a dreary day, makes my days. Pulling on a pair of black, knee-high boots paired with some skinny jeans and long sweater almost always makes me feel happy. It’s like hey, you look good? Trendy? Fashionable? Passable? At least not like a frumpy mom?  How am I kidding? (Well obviously, I’m trying to kid myself! Duh!) Anyway I like wearing them, so who cares what everyone else thinks! (Me? Shut up, you irritating little downer voice in my mind).

reviewsA Great Review
If you don’t know, I write romance novels. Well, I wrote two anyway and am working on the third. The first, Take a Deep Breath is published and the second, Take Your Time, will be out there soon. Getting lost reading or writing a good romance is a sure way to make me smile. Romances always have a happy ending. Count on it. As an indie (that’s the new cool word for self-published) author I always have misgivings and doubts about my talents as a writer. So whenever, I get an email or someone posts a review on Good Reads or Amazon and gives my book a great review, I can count on a smile to be pasted across my face of a good ten minutes or so (until I scroll down and find a review where someone hated my book). So the review thing is definitely a double-edge sword thing. On my writing loops, most authors advice not to even bother reading them. Somehow, I can’t help myself. I’m drawn to see what other think. I confess that I am a needy writing seeking approval. Yes, I said it (wrote) it. I’m an approval junkie. Sigh. Maybe that should be my number one would-be resolution for this year.

A Perfectly Clean Room
For me walking into my home to find a perfectly neat orderly room is the ultimate happiness. With everything in its rightful place, the counters wiped, sinks shining, carpet vacuumed and every surface dusted. Chaos and clutter gone. Easy back on my couch with a good book, a glass of wine, some soft music and no guilt over something else needing to be done. Now that is pure bliss. And a regretfully, is only a dream. As you can see, I don’t have a picture for this smile. This state of home happiness happens once in a blue moon and last about as long as a lunar eclipse. The chance to snap that photo has alluded me as of yet. But someday when the four members of my household (myself included) finally get on that let’s clean this place up bandwagon at the same time, I’ll be sure to capture that moment with my iPhone.

What about you? Tell me… What makes you smile?

Where Did Summer Go? And Why Does Winter Last So Long?

Leaves

We went from tank tops and flip-flops to sweaters and ankle boots over night. Not quite literally, but close to it. The beginning of September had us sweltering in 90-degree plus sunshine, while today on the brink of October we saw 60 degrees and cloudy skies. That’s northwest Ohio for you though – the season changes here are never gradual. One moment it’s summer, the next it’s winter. I expect the snow to start blowing any second now. My favorite season blew by quickly this year. The warmth of summer, the long days of sunlight, ice cream cones and, watermelon are only memories and photographs until next year!

While I love the beautiful colors of fall, caramel apples and pumpkin pie, autumn’s onset always saddens me a bit. Much like that first robin I see hopping along in my yard fills me with hope of the warm days to com, the first leaf I see that’s turned a bright yellow or a crimson red always shoots a small pang of dread through me. In only a few short weeks, I’ll be driving home from work in the dark, scraping snow off my wind shield, and heating up the hot chocolate and chilli.

I’m resigned that winter is coming and I have no power to stop it. I’ve already started packing up the summer wardrobe and bringing out the winter one. My next chore to move the kids’ bikes, balls, scooters and other junk to one side of the garage so I can pull my car in. This is top priority as we’ve already had one freeze warning that I dodged.

Winter does have its good points, I suppose for some, although I have a hard time thinking of them. I don’t like to be cold and I’m not coordinated enough for down hill activities at high speeds. In my opinion winter would be a much better season if it would last from December 23 to December 26. On the other hand, winter does make me appreciate summer more, I guess. Next April when the weather changes from 30 to degrees to 60 degrees, I’ll be pulling out the shorts and sandals and cheering about the “heat wave!”

Who am I kidding? I am confident I would appreciate sunshine and 70 degrees without negative wind chills and ice storms. I guess I could move south or west, but my family, my friends, my church and my job are here in the winter zone. Hmm…I wonder if I could convince everyone to move with me? Now that’s an idea to ponder…

What about you? Do you long for or dread those snowy, winter days?