It doesn’t seem to matter that there aren’t feet of snow on the ground and weeks of bitter-cold temperatures. Winter still seems to make me feel a little on the melancholy side. I lose motivation and could just sleep all the time. I make a mental list of all the things I could be doing this time of year – putting a fresh coat of paint on some of the rooms, shopping for new beds, redecorating – and it all just seems like too much effort. It feels like the shades are always pulled inside of me until spring arrives. It’s not necessarily a bad feeling. It just kind of feels like I’m sitting on the sidelines watching the world go by for a few months each year.

At work, I just had what was probably the busiest week ever since the reorganization of the company. And I was happier than I can remember being since this new phase began. I love being able to really dig in. I need to be busy. I don’t coast well.

The unfortunate effect of such a busy week is that I don’t remember noticing anything else. I don’t remember thinking about much other than work. There was a nice distraction mid-week when we had dinner with friends, but beyond that it seemed as if  I went to work, I thought about work, I worried about work and I slept. And the next day I’d do it all over again. I don’t want to lose the energy that existed at work this past week, but I need to be able to find some balance between my work day and my life outside of work.

I woke up this morning when Mark came home from the overnight shift. It was tempting to just close my eyes and go back to sleep, but I knew if I did, it would be 10:00 before I guilted myself into facing the day. As nice as it is to just sleep, I hate the feeling that I’ve sacrificed hours of productiveness due to my apparent need to hibernate.

Instead of sleeping, I took Lucy outside for a walk/run. (We’re trying! She’s better at running than I am.)

It’s been warm this week, and for the past few days, there’s been a blanket of fog in the mornings. The overnight cold changed the look of the landscape this morning. I’m sure it won’t last, but the day arrived looking as if all of the trees and shrubs, fences and telephone wires had been painted white with frost.

... at the stream ...

... by a little marshy spot ...

... for as far as I could see ...

A man in an SUV stopped to ask if I knew where the high school is. He was about three miles off-track and I steered him in the right direction. We passed an elderly Hmong woman bundled up in her jacket with her furry hood gathered round her face. There was a solid pink blush in her age-worn cheeks. I only smiled at her. I could hear what I assumed was traditional Hmong music coming from her headphones. It was playing so loud, I wasn’t sure she’d hear me if I greeted her good morning.

Lucy wanted to go meet a dog who was out in his front yard barking furiously at us, but I kept her moving. As we neared the end of our loop, we crossed paths again with the Hmong woman. Our eyes met again, but there was still the music between us, so I just nodded. As we headed back into our neighborhood, I could see Shanahan, the neighbor’s Springer Spaniel looking over their back yard at us from the patio door. Lucy didn’t notice her. But by the time we’d turned the corner to walk past Shanahan’s front yard, she must have convinced her people that she needed to be outside and she came racing across the driveway, barking hello at us as we headed for our own house just two doors away. Across the street, Rex the Maltese barked over and over, ad nauseam, as he tends to do. This alerted Jack, the German Shorthair who lives next to Rex and opposite our house to join the party.

It had been a fairly quiet morning until then. And all in all, a good way to shake off the ho-hums.

18 thoughts on “Off-Balance

  1. I enjoyed getting a glimpse of the dogs in your neighborhood via this post. The Maltese that barks and barks a lot sounds a good deal like Sammy here. He gets worked up and barks at the drop of a hat it seems -or a leaf blowing past the front window is what we figure has him worked up when he starts yapping but we don’t see anyone walking by or even a strange vehicle driving by (or a familiar vehicle either, for that matter!)


    • Lucy can be that way at times too. Everything that catches her eye causes her to start barking. Other days, she just seems more observant. But Rex? If Rex is outside, he is barking – at people, at dogs, at cars, at leaves fluttering across the ground. Funny how dogs are like people. Some of them are always talking. Others hang back and observe.


  2. A good frosty morning run/walk with the dogs. I bet Lucy enjoyed it more than you did. I like how you seem to know all the neighborhood dog names. Sounds like a regular dog block party. How are Lucy’s social skills? Does she do/play well the local dogs?

    I’ve had weeks like yours. Work, eat, sleep, repeat. I find the dogs help me break out of the rut and relieve the stress, even if it is only for a short time.


    • Lucy is still learning how to play with other dogs. She loves them all, but thinks all of them want to circle and jump and sniff. She needs to learn that some dogs need to be approached more gently.

      I see what you mean about dogs helping to break out of the rut. Lucy helped me focus on things other than just what is inside my head.


  3. Great pictures. It’s pretty, as long as I don’t have to be out in it. I don’t do cold very well. I’m like you. When winter rolls around, I’d rather just stay inside in my recliner with a blanket draped over me until spring arrives.


  4. Looks chilly! Nice photos as always.

    I’m glad you got yourself out. Dogs are great for that, aren’t they? And it’s funny now one dog going out for a walk sends ripples through every dog in the neighborhood.

    I’m like you. I need to be busy, and sometimes I overextend myself and next thing I know, I’ve mailed videos with the mail…


  5. I love frozen fog on the trees – we get that occasionally here and it’s absolutely beautiful while it lasts. And I totally know how you feel about life kinda passing you by during the winter. In fact, I’ve had a blog in mind the past few days about just that, and I was going to write about it today! :)
    And don’t you just love that dogs have friends? Our neighbor’s dog used to jump her electronic fence and then our electronic fence just to be able to play with Chancie, our dog. I caught her doing it once. She ducked her head, ran as fast as she could, yelped just a little, and then had a ball rolling around with Chancie. Now THAT is true friendship. We’d let them play, then take Maggie’s collar off so she wouldn’t get shocked again when it was time to go home. Maggie has since been given the “stubborn dog” collar, so she doesn’t get out anymore, but Rudy, the yellow lab up the street is often hanging out in our yard waiting for Chancie to come out and play. Love it!!


  6. Hang in there, Terri. I suspect your issues this time of year have little to do with temperature and much more to do with light–the fact that the days are shorter than they’ll be 6 months from now.

    Happy weekend, my friend!



  7. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a December baby, but I actually love the cold, the snow and winter in general (which stinks living in South Georgia :D). Dogs have always been in my life in some form or fashion, and they make great companions (as Lucy is to you). I read your post before I get ready to write mine…which is going to incorporate a dog…lol. Funny how God works things out for His glory ALL the time. Be blessed!


  8. I like your sentence: “It feels like the shades are always pulled inside of me until spring arrives.” I know how you feel! I have been wanted to redecorate, and my husband even offered to paint, but I just don’t feel like it. Maybe next year!

    I enjoyed looking at your beautiful pictures. I wish that I would have enjoyed looking at the frost more. It’s sad when it melts away so fast.


  9. There are people who are just very sunlight sensitive. I know there is a name for the condition but I can’t remember it. Wife is that way. She used to hate each winter. That’s one of the reasons we moved to New Mexico – more light!


  10. Have you ever considered getting one of those light boxes? Maybe it could help combat the winter doldrums.

    Sounds like Lucy is good for you, if she helps get you out and enjoying your surroundings again.


  11. That’s awesome that you know all the neighborhood dog’s names. Every single yard that is adjacent to our backyard has dogs and we don’t know any of their names. Those pictures make me cold just looking at them!


  12. Love the photos in this and keeping thinking of your posts on walking and running with Lucy – I think Axel is ready, we’ve lowered his treats and changed his food, and he has lost a few-was getting chunky… how come it’s not working for me!


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