Brrr…..It was 21 degrees this morning when I ventured out with The Poodle.  The wind made it feel colder.  The Poodle didn’t seem to mind being dragged out of his cozy little bed though.  Tail-a-wagging at 6:15 in the morning, he was definitely bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  I couldn’t say the same about myself.  Despite two cups of espresso upon waking-up an hour before I was energy-less.  I’ve been dragging probably due to a chronic lack of sleep.  The wheels in my mind keep spinning and spinning, thinking about a bucketful of stuff, most of which I cannot control the outcome of anyway. Needless-to-say, our morning walk was brief.  My hands were cold just five minutes into our walk and I decided to turn around. No matter what kind of gloves I buy nothing seems to keep my hands warm enough!  When my hands are cold, the rest of me is too.  As I make my way back to the house I realize that I’m really losing my mojo.  I’ve become such a twinkie in the last year…or, did this wimpy-ness start when I moved to middle-earth?  Hmm.  What’s up?  Maybe it’s because of turning 57?  Or perhaps it’s a mild form of depression because I’m not out running as I did for so many years.  I’m trying to figure my head out here.  Why am I not as physically active as I used to be?  Weather conditions rarely got in the way of being active.

Truthfully, I just don’t typically do well in the cold.  I never have. I recall a Stage Two hypothermia scare while cycling in the Canadian Rockies. I was as blue as the deep blue sea from head to toe and surprised that I didn’t break any teeth during thirty minutes of violent shivering.    Still, because of my love of the outdoors, for years I was stubborn enough to stick to a running regimen no matter what mother nature had to say about it.  I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve run through miles of pouring rain and wind so strong that it felt like I was literally running in place.  And cold weather?  Years and years of it. My line in the sand to run outdoors was 19 degrees, if wind wasn’t a factor.  Honestly, most of my favorite runs were on snow-packed streets and trails.  I loved to hear the crunch of packed snow under my feet and I loved the sparkle effect the morning sun had on the snow-covered trees and grounds around me; it was as if the night before it had rained glitter.  Not to mention the usual reward at the end of a run in the snow….a steaming cup of hot chocolate with a sprinkle of marshmallows.  Hmm….Yum.  Still, at least I’m not living in Buffalo right about now;  It looks like it’s already Christmas there!  But then again….when I see the beauty of all that snow I’m taken back to my Colorado years and those Northern Virginia fun and frosty snowy runs and… for a moment …I miss everything about it!  Crazy, eh?

Now that I cannot run, I walk.  Most of the time my walk is a fast, power walk, much to the dismay of The Poodle.  If I let him, he’d prefer to stop at every light pole and fence post. Sometimes all that stopping and starting can be extremely annoying (and I’m sure he thinks the same of the woman yanking and pulling on his leash saying, Come on boy….heel!).  And when I don‘t take The Poodle on my walks, then I have to explain myself to inquiring neighbors.  “Where’s The Poodle this morning?” whereupon I usually reply something to the effect, I needed a break from my kid today.

The cold snap here and the polar blast gripping much of the U.S. has me thinking about those who are homeless and sleeping on the street.  Despite the lovely morning sun and beautiful blue sky my heart is heavy for these folks.  Here I am complaining about cold hands as I make my way to the warmth of a lovely home when there are many in the U.S. who are homeless or so many others in far-flung reaches of the globe who are displaced by war and terror…who are living in tents or whatever make-shift housing they can find .  The cold also has me worrying about my estranged son who still is stuck in a rut so deep that I’m losing faith that he’ll ever come out of it.  Is he warm in the deep-freeze of where he is living? Does he have a decent winter coat?  Does he have food in his belly?  Has he stopped drinking…or is he at least trying to quit?  A million questions swirl around my head to which I know the answer to some but not enough to soothe this mother’s soul.  My heart grows heavy thinking about it all.  Then I’m thinking about my Beach Cities friends who are still wearing flip-flops and can play (workout) outdoors in the warmth of the Southern California sun.  I wish I were back in the land of palm trees and dolphins frolicking just off shore.   I realize that this is some of the reason for this morning’s funk as I make my way back inside from the cold.  I’m dangerously close to a pity party.  Gotta nip that in the bud!

Happy Clown by my son when he was seven.

Happy Clown by my son when he was seven.

I just need to jump-start the day once again and flip that switch in my brain from negative to positive. There are so many things to be thankful for: my daughter is on a good path; I’ve got the love and support of my sis and her family as well as my Italian family on the other side of the ocean; I’ve got lovely friends near and far who make me laugh and Rocket-man is on his way home tomorrow.

So here goes….Flip the switch.

How about starting with a happy clown art piece made by my son when he was seven years old.  And to really get into the holiday spirit….

flip the switch with Michael Bublé and Idina Menzel’s rendition of Baby It’s Cold Outside.  Bliss!

Yes!