Prepping for more than survival

3 Nov

Last winter sucked ass. There’s just no polite way of stating that.

Okay, yes, we’re in Seattle, and the PNW is not know for being the sunniest of places. We know that. But last winter broke records and nearly broke the entire region. There were 9 days of recorded sun from October 1st to March 28th.

9 days of sun. Only three of those were full sunny days. The rest were cloudy, and we had record amounts of rain.



Basically, we were all the 10th Doctor [Gif of David Tennant standing in the rain looking sad]

That alone will make someone a bit twitchy, punchy, and unwilling to leave their couch fort. Add my life’s worth of stress and anxiety and history of depression and I flat out ghosted life at one point. There was a week where I just stayed in bed during the school hours binge watching Netflix because I just couldn’t do anything else.


I have since gotten a therapist and a light therapy lamp.

But this past month, even with its gloriously sunny autumn days full of color, I’ve been living with a shadow looming over my shoulder. I realized I was dreading the winter months. Flat out dread people. Not that I was afraid of the gloom, but afraid I wasn’t up for the gloom. I don’t want to ghost out on life again, spend time in bed, waste entire days doing nothing because doing anything is an effort.

It doesn’t help that my life here is a bit lonely. I didn’t realize it, but my therapist pointed it out after I mentioned how I spend my days alone. My friends all work. I spend my daytime hours alone. I can spent five hours of my awake time having only the dogs as company, and then spend my evenings with only Maura for company. And Maura isn’t a conversationalist.

My natural tendency is to cave a little. Built a couch fort and hide. Add record breaking gloom and rain and a crappy social life and there suddenly isn’t enough Vitamin D in the world to break that spiral.

So this year, I’m trying to be proactive. Find reasons to get up, get out the door, things to do when I am home.

Step One was making my space happier and less stressful. The clutter and chaos wasn’t working for me. I’d see the mess and decide I couldn’t do something more “fun” – like write – because I should be cleaning up. But then I would be overwhelmed by the cleaning, or just not wanting to clean, so I’d just waste time online or on Netflix, not doing anything.

So while it was sunny, I tore my house apart, decluttered everything, shifted things that needed shifting, donating things that I didn’t need, crying because OMG, I just made my house worse, wtf have I done? – and then get back to dealing with shit.

And now it’s dealt with. Well, except for the laundry room. But I can shut the door on that.



Took a few months, but this space is back to fabulous [photo of a living room with a blue rug,  green couch, bright green and blue sequin pillows, rocking chair with a polka dot throw, built in shelves full of books and knick knacks, and a fireplace whose mantle is decorated with a large print, deer antlers,  little houses, fish bottles and two green glass lamps]


Step Two – I got out my light therapy lamp while it was still sunny. I have it here, just to the left of me at my desk, shining next to my face as I type. And I got a big bottle of gummy Vitamin D. Because Vitamin D deficiency is just a way of life in the PNW.

Step Three – I’m reconsidering my mellow/angsty playlists on Spotify. Not that I don’t love my mellow/angsty playlists. But on a gloomy day, I need something to combat things, and that’s not going to be Adele. Oh, I still can’t go full Justin Timberlake, but maybe some Script and Train.

Step Four – I’m banning myself from crawling back into bed. Step One has made this more possible. There is a difference between watching a couple shows from the sofa and laying in bed.

Step Five – find reasons to leave the house. This is the hardest step because there aren’t a lot of options outside of shopping during the day. But leaving the house is necessary. Getting outside is necessary. Having a reason to dress like a normalish human is necessary.

Step Six – and really, I should list this one higher, is writing. Not just writing, but finishing the edits of the book I’ve been writing. I need to get that done and send it out into the world, because I need to have that accomplishment. Because having been a stay at home mom for 21 years, I have this feeling of being useless. Let’s be frank – stay at home moms are treated like idiots who can only talk about diapers and car pool lines. We have no value outside of our house. And once our kids are grown enough, we’re expected to go back to work. I didn’t do that. I thought about it a couple years ago, finding a part time job, but the reality is that it’d be hard to find a job that fits around Maura’s schedule. And not to brag, but we don’t need the piddly income I’d make (because high paying jobs for women who’ve stayed at home for 21 years are surprisingly few).

I’ve spent my entire adult life talking about getting published. Right now, it seems like it’s been nothing but talk. I’ve not been disciplined enough to get anything done up to now, and quite frankly, life kept throwing shit at me like it was a monkey at the zoo. But now, now I’m close enough I can see it as a reality. I just need to finish.

So yeah, that’s my plan for this winter. Last winter, I spent it just trying to survive. This winter, I’d like to do a little more than that.

And with that sad, I woke up to fecking snow falling.




[photo of a dark morning, snow falling and sticking onto a patio table with an aqua blue umbrella, on the deck, on the grill…] Ugh. 



14 Responses to “Prepping for more than survival”

  1. teacherturnedmommyblog November 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    have you considered volunteering? I volunteer at my sons school whenever they need someone. it is very motivating to get out when you know you are doing something that will help others.

    • Phoebe November 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm #

      I’d rather not volunteer at the school, lol! Also, it would take away from hours when I’m able to write, which means I won’t make that last but still very important Step 6.

      • Adelaide Dupont November 3, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

        Is there a writerly workshop/retreat that feels like being in bed though accomplished and satisfied?

  2. Laurie Ann Thompson November 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Pick a day and a time and a Starbucks and let’s kick these books’ asses together!

    • Phoebe November 3, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Oh yes! I shall message you.

  3. Loretta November 3, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

    Thought I was reading about myself for a moment, a few things anyways.
    I offer my hugs and support. Hope that this is a different winter and that writing will fuel your soul.

  4. Dana Dolvig November 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm #

    I love in Portland. Know the depressing weather well! I try to take the dog out on a walk or hike every day – even in the rain, maybe even if we get snow. That seems to help keep me going during the day because the dog will not settle for me not going, and once I am moving it is easier to keep going! I also schedule lunch with my working friends. I am home alone all day, but can definitely meet them at a restaurant or somewhere near them. I love all your plans! I also make a lists of short and long term goals and try to write something to do on each of them each day. That helps me stay going too!

  5. bluerosegirl08 November 3, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

    I am pulling for you. I’m pretty sure one of those lamps would help me but I no idea where to look for them. I am also writing a book that needs work it’s been badly neglected of late. Seattle is one of the major cities in it.

  6. astudentinkolkata November 3, 2017 at 9:47 pm #

    Longtime reader, love your writing and the blog. Unlurking to say that I _love_ that you’ve included descriptions of the photos and gifs here. I’m guessing that’s for those using text-to-speech software?

    Also-lovely room!

    • Phoebe November 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

      Yes, it is – I’m trying to remember to do that now. I hope people like long detailed descriptions, lol!

  7. Widdershins November 3, 2017 at 10:16 pm #

    Yeah, snow at the beginning of November … just as well I love snow. 🙂

    … some days I feel like I just get out of bed, sit at my computer, write/emails/etc, occasionally make a pot of tea, and then it’s time to go back to bed. Those are the times when I make myself put on my grown-up shoes and go for a walk. It makes all the difference.

    … but yeah, snow in November … it’s going to be an interesting winter. 🙂

  8. Saracvt November 4, 2017 at 1:39 pm #

    So you have a grow light, too? (That was the family nickname for my mom’s light therapy lamp.) It helped her immensely. I hope it helps you as much.

  9. Rallisblog November 5, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    i’ll send some of our sun over to you. We have way to much 🙂
    Or just come to Australia for that time.. 😀

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