Tag: Winter

Resignation to Reinvigorated

“I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.”
– W. Somerset Maugham

Picture: a man with a good reason to feel unequal to his tasks and tired.  Not pictured: me, grumbling about going to the gym. (via)
Picture: a man with a good reason to feel unequal to his tasks and tired. Not pictured: me, grumbling about going to the gym. (via)

The Pope’s resigning today (something with only semi-historical precedent that makes medieval history buffs like me giddy with the newness and compels us to dive into dry tomes for more information).  I’ve decided today to resign something as well… the month of February.  Retire it.  Let is sink slowly into a life of contemplation and ring in the new month with pomp.

February was rough this year.  The usual blah-ness of winter combined with a lot of stress at work, mixed with a bad case in particular, a dash of unpleasant surprise with our landlords, and just a soupcon of perpetual grumpiness meant that I spent Februrary cranky.  Some years I get a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder and I think I came down with it in January and February.  What’s more I allowed myself to become discouraged and glum, which is a hard cycle to break when it’s freezing cold and dark outside.

No more!  I’m diving into Mad March Hare-ness with abandon!

Tonight I have a ticket to hear an academic and personal hero speak.  I have a new game plan for some personal projects that aren’t paying out just yet, but I already feel much better about.  I’m shuffling off some the easy selfishness I’ve fallen into and helping out some friends.  I’m not eating ice cream for dinner.  Progress already, I feel.

Speak up minions, what’s a good way to counteract discouragement and the winter blues?

Winter’s (Lovely) Chill

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”
~ Andrew Wyeth

A strange lethargy has overtaken me, kittens.  I’m busier at work than I’ve ever been in recent memory and when I get home I’m wiped.  Things like making dinner seem outrageously hard, the thought of cleaning or straightening anything is downright laughable, and I’m in bed early.  Ever since my relaxing Thanksgiving holiday, anything past 10:30pm feels late.

Winter hibernation has moved in and is here to stay until March at the earliest.

I had great ambitions last night of making a curry for dinner, snatching a sweater on sale, buying wrapping gear for some presents, wrapping said presents, and folding laundry.  I managed the sweater and wrapping boxes and called it quits.  J. and I watched a few missed TV episodes, got hamburgers, and cuddled on the couch instead.  We regret nothing.

We finally got our first December snow, we had to turn on our heater for the first time, we’re buying a box of clementines and a couple of pomegranates a week, and the sun goes down before I get out of work – I think it’s winter, guys.  Anyone else up for a few months’ long nap?

(image via BBC)
(image via BBC)

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like…?

“A lot of people like snow.  I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water.”
– Carl Reiner

You guys, it snowed!  Yesterday!  October 6th!  Alright, so it melted the second it hit the ground and lasted less than 10 minutes, but still – snow!

Western weather is the most ludicrously schizophrenic thing you’ve ever seen.  It barely turned into Fall, I watched a leaf fall a mere four days ago while walking to my car, and all of a sudden the mountains look like a pastry chef dusted them with confectioners sugar.

I turned on the heat for the first time when I got home from work, only for an hour to warm things up a bit.  Last night it was far too cold to sleep with the window open like I’ve been doing for a couple of weeks now – certainly without a nice warm husband to cuddle up against.  I’ve got the beginnings of a cold tickling the back of my throat.  My stomach is campaigning vigorously for steaming hot stews and soups.  The signs are all here, but how did we skip Fall and go straight into Winter?

Western weather being what it is, though, I expect Fall to come back at any moment, clutching its chest and panting, “So sorry, everyone, just popped round to the store for a minute, what did I miss?”

Also, and far more enraging, guess what I saw at the grocery store yesterday?  Christmas decorations!  Honestly, people, it’s early October, we haven’t even had Halloween yet!  Let’s all calm down, shall we?

Ready To Run

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”
— Marilyn Monroe

It’s official, poodles, winter turns your friendly household C. into a blithering idiot.  I suspect I have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder – come the cold and dark I get moodier, need to sleep longer, and can stay on the sofa for hours doing nothing and seemingly only half awake.  And my brain turns to mush.  I am sure of it.

We got another coat of snow last night so when I finally managed to pull myself out of bed (which is not exactly an easy feat when your SAD-affected mind and body are yelling at you, “If you’d just give in you could have a nice little bout of depression and not have to go into work today.  Come on, just because it takes you months to pull yourself out of it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.  Give in just a little…”), I reached for my trusty Hunter boots.

Stuffing legs and trousers into them haphazardly, I clumped about the flat grabbing fruit and granola bars (and maybe a couple of chocolate chip cookies) before J. and I dashed out into the cold to scrape off the car and gun it for work.

Pictured: said evil Being.

But midway to the office, I was hit with the nagging, suspicious feeling that somewhere in the vastness of the universe there was a Being chuckling at my expense.

I cataloged myself.  Something was missing.  Bag, phone, wallet, all present.  Gym bag complete with gym clothes, check.  Water bottle, snacks, diary, all in their proper places.  My hair was done, I had no bra straps on display, I was even sporting a pretty new cardigan and fabulous bright red lipstick.  What was it?

Bending down to rummage in my bag again, I glanced at my boots.  The nagging, chuckling feeling got stronger.  It became downright malicious in fact.  Boots, I thought, why would that…drat! Because, naturally, I had not grabbed actual shoes to change into.

Thus, here I sit in sharp black trousers, red lipstick, freshly painted nails, lovely cardigan…and my old running trainers – which squeak badly when I walk.  Much to the amusement of my co-workers.

Riddle Me This

“I was so cold the other day, I almost got married.”
– Shelley Winters

There is a strange American phenomenon that has yet to be satisfactorily explained to me: the wearing of coats, or rather lack thereof.

Even when it’s freezing there will be hordes of people in shorts, opened toed shoes, and mere t-shirts, shivering in the biting wind.  When the rain pours down, I seldom see umbrellas, just lots of people with their collars turned up against the torrent or huddled in on themselves in misery.

It’s far below freezing throughout most of the country, certainly in our University town – why on earth are these children wandering about half naked?

Mere hours ago, they walked and lived with us. A tragic end.

Cat. Nap.

Sleeping is no mean art:  for its sake one must stay awake all day.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

I unabashedly spent the three day weekend on the sofa bundled in a blanket, napping cat-like in a sunbeam, and watching PBS documentaries.  I only pried myself up to drive up north with J. to see a visiting dear friend, and yesterday to go get some much needed Indian food.  Then it was straight back to the sofa because I was worn out.  I should have cooked, cleaned, or done laundry, but I didn’t.

There is something about this time of year that makes me tired, not to say exhausted.  I feel sluggish and snappish – though, thank heaven, not depressed.  To boil it down, I feel like I need to hibernate and a nefarious someone or something is stopping me.  Jerk.

Thoughts, From Abroad (1845)

Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
– Robert Browning

View from campus. Blech.

I am royally sick of living in the American West!  Just when I figure out what on earth the weather is doing, WHOMP!  We get slapped with a snow storm, dust and pollution atmospheric covering, heat wave, cold front, or some really horrid combination of the four.  I am so tired of pulling out sweaters and coats after packing them away (again).  I am thoroughly over days and days of climbing temperatures, only to wake up having to scrape snow off the car. 

Living in the West seems to equal extremes.  It’s either blazing hot or as cold as Dante’s hell.  There is very little in between and the transitional seasons are completely lost in the shuffle (which is a great tragedy, in my opinion, as Spring is so refreshing and necessary and Fall is a radiant symphony of beauty). 

Someday I will live in a place where each season takes up as close to a full quarter of a year as possible.  And if it’s England, where it’s still green even in the winter in spite of snow, so much the better.  I am SO ready for GREEN again…

Ready To Spring!

 “Winter is a ball hog.  It’s time to warm the bench and let Spring play a bit.”
– TenFour

I make this same error every year: sometime around mid-February we get a week of warmer temperatures and sun instead of thick, low-hanging clouds, and I will invariably mistake this for the early signs of Spring.  

I'm ready to be right regular March Hare!

I’ll start gleefully stripping my closet of turtlenecks, sweaters, and wool trousers and putting them in plastic tubs for storage.  I’ll shun hot chocolate and tea and valiantly start drinking lemonade.  I’ll start sporting brightly colored shirts and colorful accessories.  I’ll shave my legs with more enthusiasm than I’ve done in months! 

However, immediately after one (foolishly) locks the last of one’s winter gear away, the snow clouds roll back in and one has to snag a cardi from home on one’s lunch break because the temperature has dropped.  It’s been snowy and gray all day and I’m in a strop.  See here and here for last year’s thoughts on the subject.    

Admittedly, it’s been an irregular winter to begin with.  Here I’ve sat (mostly) high and dry in the Rocky Mountains while two nasty snowstorms have walloped the East coast.  Where’s the logic?