If you’re a sailing ship and you’re somewhere near the equator in the Atlantic or Pacific, with nary a breeze, calm and clear skies for days on end… you’re caught in the doldrums.

If you’re Milo from Norton Juster‘s “The Phantom Tollbooth” (a favorite children’s contemporary fantasy of ours), and while driving along in your toy car you are suddenly caught in a place where imagination and cheer are not allowed, where the list is the same every day…you’re caught in “The Doldrums.”

And if you’re a Vermonter in the first weeks of March, where your patience is beginning to wear thin from grey skies full of yet another snowstorm, daily temperatures under 30 degrees, the unchanging fawn and white palette of the horizon and landscape… you might be in the doldrums.

I think the term is perfectly suited to describe how many New Englanders are feeling of late.

Yesterday, I listened to my daughter and her violin teacher play Pachelbel’s Canon for me and fell into a reverie.  The next thing I knew, I was using my smart phone to search “Cheap Fares to Hawaii.”

This morning I daydreamed while reading the Philadelphia Flower Show webpage.

In times like these, you need a sound strategy to stay positive.  I’m no weaky.  In fact, I love the challenge that the Doldrums sends my way.

Yesterday my fabulous vet told me that my fabulous fat cat, Schilling, needed to go on a diet. He needs to lose a POUND AND A HALF.

I’ve got 5 house cats, all, and so the plan is to make a box with a small opening in it for the others to go into to get their chow, while Schilling sups on his controlled allotment.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

But I thought, “Hey, if Schilling’s got to cut down, then so will I.”  And so starting today, I’m going to begin to do something I hate.  (I don’t like to use that word much -as a friend once admonished my child “You don’t hate anything but sin.”)

I’m going to start jogging.

Catch me if you can, Doldrums!

The Big Schill

The Big Schill

11 responses to “Doldrums

  1. Jogging is fine … but be sure to dress appropriately (in your cold weather) … stretch before you run (I know it’s a pain (sometimes literally) but it’s important … before and after) … and start ever-so-slowly. The best way to ruin the good intention to run is to hurt yourself right off the bat. I was a runner a long, long time ago … took 20 years off (work, kids, farm) … and got back into it two years ago and have been really enjoying it. Did a half marathon with a friend last fall – and survived in very good shape. A half mile this week … take the weekend off … perhaps a mile next week … take the weekend off … and then whatever you feel up to the week after that. Slow, slow, and steady win the race – don’t forget. Good for you and very good luck. Oh … almost forgot … get some real running shoes, you’ll be glad you did. D (PS: Was I being preachy? If so, forgive me.) PSS: Nice cat image – there must be something in the air?

    • Thank you for the excellent advice. I mean it. No, never preachy. I’m happy to have the reminders. It’s been forever since I’ve been actively active 🙂 I used to jog in high school, it was pitiful. I never could seem to improve and I always detested it. But I did it hoping that I would enjoy it eventually. I did stay very active in my teens and twenties. Even taught aerobic-dance classes in my twenties. I have great shoes. They’ve been waiting for me to put them on. I needed to hear that incremental achievement list you laid out. No sense being gung-ho just to have to retire early. Will let you know how it goes. And yes, thanks on the cat image kudos. Schill is an easy subject to catch being regal.

      • I just reread the great directive … that would be a half mile at least three days a week for that first week … and then a mile at least three days a week for the second week … the way it read you would have thought I had you running one day each week. Yikes. Three days a week is good, four is even better … with weekends off for rest and recovery. D

        • O.k., got it! No, I didn’t think it was one day/week! But I did wonder if it was 5 days on/2 days off that you were talking about. 3 makes more sense, especially if I don’t want to get hurt. I used to suffer from shin splints terribly in my 20s. I vow not to let anything like that set me back. Thanks for the update, coach!

  2. Tammy! I love this. How about making a “dole” drum- pineapple can with bananas as sticks? I started a little “spring spruce up” for myself last Monday. Just to make sure my jeans don’t get any tighter. Feels great! You go girl!

    • Thanks, Leslie. Clever you. I figure I could go two ways, up hill, or down hill, and I prefer the results at the end of the road if I go up hill 🙂 Happy Spring Spruce Up!

  3. Some great writing, as always. I love, love the part about listening to Char, finding reverie, and then researching Cheap Fares to Hawaii. Hooray for jogging! Although – let’s be honest – we all know that you never stop moving in real life anyway, right? I’ve never seen anyone live an “every day every minute cardio” life more than you. xoxo

    • Thank you, M, and in real life, no, I hardly pause. I’m so excited about my new fitness plan! Someday I’m going to run with you, not just wave as you run past.

  4. Love this! Especially the reference to The Phantom Tollbooth, one of my favorites. It’s so easy to find ourselves in them. I wish you luck in keeping up with your plan and ask for any special tips to inspire the rest of us to move too.

    • Thank you! I try not to make false claims, feeling good about turning a leaf. Ever year, somewhere around July, I’m disappointed I didn’t get myself motivated sooner. So I say ‘oh, next year!’ Will keep us posted on mine & Schill’s progress.

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