Winter Doldrums

The doldrums are the latitudes where the wind doesn’t blow much. Sailing ships couldn’t make much headway. Sometimes the ships’ boats had to be set out and the sailors rowed their vessel into better sailing weather. It could take days. Vessels truly becalmed were sometimes abandoned as water and food ran out. There are stories of sailors just stepping off the deck, mad from the blazing sun and the unremitting boredom.

I started with great plans this month – knitting, sewing, quilting. None of it is done, or even started. I am becalmed by recovery from illness which has taken the winds out of my sails. Since debilitating illness tends to trigger some symptoms of fibromyalgia, I am doubly becalmed. My hands are clumsy and I have trouble concentrating. I manage to do some writing, but it is slow. At least prayer and some scripture study don’t seem to tax my poor brain too much.

The house is fairly clean, we have fresh laundry, I keep the meals coming and the dishes washed. But that is about it. The closest I come to real work is online shopping for the garden seeds. It’s a good thing eBay doesn’t charge me by the minute.

How have your winter plans gone? It would cheer me to hear that others are getting things accomplished!

15 thoughts on “Winter Doldrums

  1. Actually, I seem to be having the same problems, but without your reasons. I think it’s just the post-Christmas/February blahs that happen in Canada this time of year :) I really have to make more effort because I am running out of decent dresses AND I have to make all the costumes for Ella’s dance class. I don’t know how to get myself motivated.

  2. My winter plans were not nearly as monumental as yours. We have three bedrooms (with closets), a dining room (with a closet), a kitchen with lots of cupboards, and a livingroom with lots of storage space. We also have a full basement full of junk.

    As you know, one of my goals of late has been to reduce the amount of junk in my home. So my winter goals was to go through all of those areas and get rid of the junk either to goodwill, the church or to friends if there was stuff that they could use.

    I am not bragging here, but you asked. I have finished the bedrooms, the diningroom, the livingroom and most of the kitchen.

    Since we are currently living in the artic circle, the basement has been much to cold to be in. The last kitchen cupboard is in the corner and is difficult to get into for me with my knee issues.

    Until I got sick I was keeping up on my bible study, but I think the worst of it has passed so I will be resuming and catching back up on my studies.

    My advice to you, my friend, is not to dwell on what others have done and not to look on your huge list and feel overwhelmed. Make what my husband calls “The Grand List” but then make a smaller, more short term list of items that you feel you can accomplish. I knew I wanted to get all these closets and cupboards cleaned out, but I picked one or two a Saturday to do. With my job, I could never get it all done in a week. It would have been an overwhelming task and I would never have started.

    Someone once told me, with small steps great distances are traveled. I don’t know if they stole that or not, but it made sense. I will keep you in my prayers.

    • I love to hear that people are cheerfully accomplishing their goals. Or at least accomplishing something near their goals, even without cheer. It is very worthwhile to get the house under control, to get rid of the extra, to move what you don’t need along to someone who does. Nicholas and I were just talking about how being online actually saves us money, since we are not buying a lot of how-to books, or subscribing to magazines. While we are acquiring some books, they are ones that we will read more than once.

  3. Oh dear. With three under five, it’s all I can do to keep my head above water. Goals? What are goals? My goal is to feed everyone, keep everyone clean, and clean the bathroom. I guarantee your house is cleaner than mine, and you should feel accomplished!

    So far this winter I have knit a lot of booties (so many babies being born!). We got meat for the winter. I have been tossing things out to declutter, but it seems things accumulate as fast as I toss them, so I can never count a room as “done.” Oh, and yesterday I organised my circular knitting needles!

  4. I have been struggling for many seasons with really no way to plan much. It has really started to get to me this past year, as our youngest sick, the sick one, passed a particular age where we have to face certain miserable facts. Number one, that we cannot set goals for him still, and so therefore, we just flap in the wind. I don’t care if he stays with us forever!! I love that kid and I could not be more blessed to be in this “box” with someone like him. But he doesn’t want to be kept by mommy and daddy forever; he wants to think he may have a wife and kids someday. So, these doldrums go on and on. But, there is this sense inside of knowing I am doing what God wants for today and like Job, I must say in our long term suffering, Blessed be the name of the Lord. I am in no way as strong as Job, but he encourages me. I have been honestly trying to list in my head all the things I have been blessed with – so, so much. I am not hungry, I have a decent home, I have a great husband and on and on the list goes.

    I still try to plan in general. I hope this year we can do better with the garden. We have not got into the catalogs yet and we need to decide whether to increase our chicken flock. We buy them from McMurray Hatcheries and they sell them mostly in runs of 25. So, we might see if we can split them with someone, as I don’t want 40 chickens – 27 or 28 would put us just where we need to be. I think we might go back to barred rocks, though the Silver Wyandottes are gentler, quieter in nature. The barred rocks were tough as nails and laid amazingly well all Winter, with just slow downs with moulting, but not stops
    We need to paint this living room so badly, but I don’t know yet if I should *plan* to be done before Spring. And our resident wild child in the self proclaimed bachelor pad in the back is beginning to make a significant come around – as he knows he must leave soon and get his own place and life going. I am putting up with his growing pains, since he is actually making progress, and that is how I want him to leave – for the right reasons and with a good attitude. No matter what it is hard to see them go and I shall cry my heart out until a new routine makes it alright. His being here, and his way of not keeping things neat has driven me nearly mad. When he does move I will feel like I can accomplish much more – I think when we think we can, we can, eh?

    I am glad to hear your feeling better. Fibro stinks – I have it. I have to rest a lot when it strikes hard, yet sleeping is hard to do then.
    Joanie

    • The combination of fibro and menopause should be banned by law. Remember, all things in due season. What you sow is what you reap, sow wisely!

  5. In Sydney, It’s the oppressive heat at the moment, though today has been a blessed relief reaching only around 27 celcius; feels positively autumnal after the 35-40 that we’ve been having out West, and everyone is somewhat short-tempered because of lack of sleep due to warm nights and humidity. Summer duldrims, where it is so dashed hot that work can only be done in morning and evening…I hate the heat!!

    But in six short weeks, Sydney Autumn will be with us and though we will have the heat still, the humidity will be gone , and nights will drop to around 16celcius.

    Magdalena, if putting a meal on the table, keeping the dishes done and laundry up to date is all you can manage, know its not that discimilar here, and even moreso for those up North enduring the sub-tropical and tropical wet season! I think you’re doing magnificently; remember, you’ve just had one of the biggest upheavals life can throw at one – a house-move!! it knocks the stuffing out of one, and is exhausting – a little later – when the move is finished, the wheels of the new life set in motion and all that…the body can finally relax and will demand the requisite recovery time, even if we have other ideas; often, most viggorously when we have other ideas.

    Sarah.

  6. Magdalena, you have my sympathy with the fibro, I have it too so I know how it can take the wind out of one’s sails.
    Winter here in the Midwest USA is white and icy. We live down a very steep unpaved road 1/2 mile long, so I plan my in-town errands well in advance and try to make the most of each trip into “civilization.”
    This is my third year on my man’s forest homestead. Every winter I feel freaked out and think I should move back to town, where there are sidewalks, and people, and libraries…..
    Every winter I get a bit of the doldrums and on occasion wonder why I was ever born.
    Every winter I start out with a list of all the amazing things I’m going to accomplish around this place, and a few of them get done but most do not.

    Everything seems to take more energy in winter. It has only just recently occurred to me that it has always been this way. and that I’m a bit silly to think it shouldn’t be.
    I ‘get it’ now that our pre-Christian ancestory celebrated the winter’s darkest day because it literally meant the light would be coming, that the days would get longer and the doldrums would end.
    And I ‘get it’ now that even when we see the light and the sun as a metaphor for The Son we still live on a spinning planet on which we must go through the annual unavoidable practice of living in darkness and waiting for the Light again.
    Perhaps God brought me to the wilderness to settle my mind with this reality, which is so easily avoided in town where everything is lighted and convenient no matter what the season?
    I hold you and yours in the light, and am grateful for your continued writing here. You are a gift.

    • I had to come to to that realization before we moved back here. To everything there is a season! My husband has gently accepted that he cannot do what he used to do; it has been a teaching to me.

  7. I am recovering from bronchitis, a UTI and now that I’ve finished the antibiotics I have a terrible head cold. The fibro wasn’t too bad while I was on Prednisone for my asthma, but I’m in a major flare now that I’m off the Prednisone.

    My last two winters in South Dakota weren’t sickly like this one. I get the grandchildren off to school and go back to be in an hour or so. Right now I *must* have at least a 2 hour nap or I can barely walk at all and just don’t function well.

    I was planning on sewing at least a cape, 3 dresses and aprons. A shoulder shawl I was knitting will go lovely with one of the dresses to be worn to church.

    Once I find a cap that I like, make 7 of them.
    Knit myself some more wool socks.
    Try to find boots.
    Find our little homestead. We found out yesterday that because I wouldn’t be able to get the chair through my bedroom door, Medicare wouldn’t pay for any of it. So the need to move is extreme. I welcome any an all prayers for us the find the home Heavenly Father has for us and wants us to be in.

    To help me feel some accomplishment during a flare I knit simple things. I’m knitting a garter stitch shawl in ribbon yarn (which is not plain at all) for my daughter and plain old wash cloths. (though I do have to look at the directions sometimes. LOL) These things are simple enough for my addled mind.

    I have a pair of socks I want to knit, but know that I won’t be able to wrap my mind around the cables until I recover.

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