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Surviving the Doldrums

Doldrums: A state or period of inactivity, stagnation or depression. “The ‘doldrums’ is a popular nautical term that refers to the belt around the earth near the equator where sailing ships sometimes get stuck on windless waters.” According to the Internet the doldrums has a bit of a reputation- a pretty bad one. The doldrums…a potentially deadly zone which could strand ships for weeks on end, causing them to run out of food and drinking water. In those days with supplies running low scurvy, delirium, starvation and cabin fever could all set in. Getting through the Atlantic Ocean could be a matter of life and death. With the advent of the engine today’s ships can motor right on through.

In mid January we find ourselves at the peak of the mental doldrums. No more twinkly lights or presents, parties or days off. What kind of engines can we fire up to motor ourselves out? There are things we can do as individuals and then there are things we can do as part of the larger community. On your own you can meditate (just 12 minutes a day is said to make a difference). Yoga is a good booster for the meditation. Get more light- spend more time outdoors or buy an indoor light box you can even buy an app for your phone for $2.99 the iSAD to turn your phone into a sunrise –stimulator alarm clock. Exercise in the morning to burn calories and sleep better. You could wear brighter colors to cheer yourself and those you meet. Avoid heavy meals even though the urge to gobble rich foods is strong when it’s cold outside. Protein is your friend, carbs not so much. Get social- fight the urge to climb down the rabbit hole pulling the entrance in behind you. Being around people especially people you enjoy will bring your spirits up. Another counter intuitive tip is to sleep less rather than more. The urge to hibernate is strong but getting up and at ‘em is really a better path. Finally try a whiff of citrus. Cut an orange and inhale the citrus oil for a lift. According to the “Washingtonian” where I got these tips online this unconventional tip has been proved to change hormone levels enough to make a difference and was even more effective than antidepressants. If you are really, really blue see a professional.

When it comes to finding activities to bust out of the doldrums with there really is an embarrassment of local riches. Between what is on offer in the Anderson Valley and Ukiah and Cloverdale you could wear yourself out with mid-winter stimulation. The following are just some of the things on offer, check it out!

These are in no particular order mix and match, as you will. 

Community Sing at Lauren Keating’s house 1st and 3rd Sundays 3:30-5:00 call 707 895-2602.

Free Hendy Woods admission for locals 2/12 between 7 AM-6PM. 

Pancake breakfast at the Grange 8:30-11 on 2/12. 

Heart Health program 2/12 from 3-4:30 Senior Center RSVP Anica 707 684-9829. 

Trivia at Lauren’s with Steve Sparks 2/2 from 7-9 continuing every other week more or less. 

History Museum Little Red Schoolhouse reopening 2/4 from 1-4 special old postcard exhibit, tours and refreshments 1-4 at 12340 Hwy. 128 in Boonville. 

AV Library at Fairgrounds open 1-4 on Tuesdays. Bookmobile info. Senior bus to Ukiah call 707 489-1175. 

Living with wildfire workshop at the Grange 1/18, 9:30-1:30 register on eventbrite use event number 5113505723227, bring bag lunch. 

Unity Club Catered Lunch with CEO of Mendocino County- Darcie Antle reservations at Feb. 2 at 12:30. 

Lunch at the Senior Center is served on Thursday 12-1 $6 for Seniors, $7 for others and $1 extra for to go orders call 895-3609. 

The Village offers an ongoing walking group 2/7 9:30-10:30 meet at community park next to AV Clinic also balance exercise ongoing 2/9 11:30-12 with lunch after- contact Elizabeth Wyant at 

Catholic Church Barn Sale AV Way first weekend of the month.

The AV Brewery offers lots of programs coming up 1/27- Blue Lake Band 4:30-6, Vinyl Records and watercolor challenge 1/30, and Wreckless Strangers 2/3, Randy Hood 2/10. No cover charge. Also Brewery Trivia on some Mondays for sure 2/20 with Casey Farber.

Moving outward, Ukiah offers First Friday Artwalks 5-8 on South State Street. The City of 10,000 Buddhas has a calendar of festivals and a Vegan restaurant http;// The Alex Rorabaugh Recreation Center at 1640 State Street has a full array of programs and a big wonderful gym open Friday 8-11 and Sunday 12-4 for ping pong and basketball Farmer’s Market 10-12:30 Alex Thomas Plaza all year rain or shine. 

A quick jump to Fort Bragg to remind you about the CV Starr Center with many classes and their great indoor pool. The Ukiah Senior Center at 499 Leslie Street sponsors many tasty programs and has a thrift store open Monday through Saturday 10-3 call 707 462-4343. Check out their website.

Hopping up or down depending on how you hop: Cloverdale also has a very active Senior Center at 331 N.Main 894-4826. They run a wonderful little craft store downtown called Creative Notions where you can find yarn, fabric and a host of other wonderful supplies for next to nothing. 119 W. 1st Wed.-Fri. Crafters will also enjoy “Bolt” a fabric store with a very knowledgeable owner and quilting classes 219 N. Cloverdale 894-2658 The Citrus Fair is coming up Feb. 17-20th at the Fair grounds. Seniors free admission on Friday. The Cloverdale Performing Arts Center which is a really comfortable and nice little theater that even has headphones for hearing challenged. They put on plays with comedy and musical performances. Sonomusette a great French singer and band scheduled for Feb. 11, Just for Laughs Feb. 4 and “Cesar Died Today,” a play Jan. 28 & 29th. Check website for upcoming programs. The Cloverdale Arts Alliance 204 N. Cloverdale Blvd. is the organization that puts on the great outdoor summer concerts in Cloverdale “Friday Night Live” all free beginning in May. During the fall and winter they have Americana, Jazz and Blues musical offerings live in their art gallery. Cabaret tables set up and wine available. Really a great space for intimate music. Feb 16th Newberry and Verch-Appalachian music, David Luning March 16, Feb.2 Pamela Rose and Mimi Fox Blues and Ballads March 2 Peter Horvath Piano. Check website for tickets and other programming.

So, lots of places to go people to see and things to do. Before you know it spring will be busting out all over like it always does and sooner than you expect it to (like it always does). In the meantime savor the silence of the doldrums knowing that you can fire up your engines and motor into some of the frantic activity posted above instead of being stranded windless and running out of food and water like the hapless sailors of yesteryear.

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