So I’ve been awake now for, oh, 3 and a half hours, and, up until about 5 minutes ago, seriously believed with all my heart that today was Thursday.
I have just been informed otherwise.
I swear I’m 27 going on 77 sometimes.
Didn’t help that I awoke late and rushed out of J’s house to be greeted in the face by fat drops of 33-degree rain and gusting winds (which generally are blinding when you have very long hair).
Which gets me thinking – I don’t know about you, but the winter in the state I live in goes a little something like this: Mid-November the chilly rains set in. By December, the odds of having more than 2 sunny days in a row match those of winning the lottery. Temperatures will undulate just above and far below freezing for months, resulting in alternating rain and snow. This may end, if we’re lucky, by April. (Although, I distinctly recall moving out of my dorm in May one year of college in an endless frigid rain).
Must we bend to this inevitable nasty weather, hang our heads like drooping flowers and give in to hibernation and lethargy for 5 months?? Easy as it would be to give in to temptation and live in sweatpants and pajamas and watch marathon sessions of The Office until May, I have to believe I can do better, that my curiosity and joie de vivre can thrive even when my world is a popsicle.
I feel like we’ve been doing a good job so far…. but it’s only Month 1. If we look at this as a 5k, we’re just getting warmed-up. So, here are some ideas we’ve done, and some still to attempt. Granted, some of them are specific to my neck of the woods, but feel free to swipe them for your own, and to offer additions, too:
When the weather is chilly, but not too precipitous:
1) Take a road trip to a nearby shopping destination (I’m NOT talking outlet malls. Think more along the lines of tiny, quaint and/or eccentric locales with town squares or main drags dense with little shops and eateries – if you look hard enough, they’re everywhere). A dusting of snow generally triples or quadruples the nostalgia-factor.
2) Take in a play. Chances are, you definitely don’t do this enough when the weather’s grand (although, here we have a Shakespeare in the Park company that puts on relatively entertaining outdoor shows), so take this opportunity to discover a community theater or local company. Some of the small, fringe ones put on the most intriguing stuff, so if you’re not exactly up for another rendition of “The Sound of Music” or “Death of a Salesman,” try one of these instead. (They also tend to be much more affordable than traveling Broadway series-type shows).
3) Local music. I cannot toot my effing horn loud enough on this one:) Having been on the stage-side of the music scene for so long, I know the winter months are bleak for musicians. Do them (and yourself) a huge favor: cozy up in a warm, little venue (I’m not saying you must go to some piece of shite dive bar only to have your eardrums blown out by an uberloud punk band – unless you like that sort of thing), grab a beer or a glass of wine, and be serenaded by an acoustic duo or a bluegrass band… or a girl who maybe rocks the piano a little too hard 😉 My roommate’s doing a holiday show in which she will front the band whilst tap dancing. Always ridiculously entertaining.
4) Go to the zoo. No. Seriously. I know it’s cold, but our zoo, and many others across the country, deck themselves in trillions of lights each holiday season, and usually offer features like ice skating, hot chocolate/cider stands and pics with The Claus’. Animals? Lights? Animals AND lights?? What’s not to love?
5) Go to the art museum. Yet another trip we don’t take nearly enough in the warm months, because, let’s face it, who wants to spend two or three hours indoors when it’s 78 degrees and blue-skied outside? Now, however, escaping into a brightly-lit, heated building sounds like a treat. Evil Twin and I have been known to hit up art museums whenever and wherever we can. One time we took the audio-tour of an Egyptian exhibit (with headphones that know which piece you’re standing in front of and give you details accordingly) and I can’t remember why the narrator was so hysterical (I think maybe he just sounded like a pretentious windbag, but who knows?), but Evil Twin and I couldn’t stop laughing at him, and because we had headphones on, our laughter was the only sound in the cavernous rooms and we kept getting dirty looks from the elderly volunteer woman. Awesome.
6) If it has snowed, but the temperature is tolerable, bundle the hell out of yourself, and go for a walk. Do it up right: slide around on the ice (J and I successfully redefined “ice dancing”), stop to make snow angels in a fresh patch, nail each other with snow balls. Walk to a restaurant or coffee shop where you can warm up and drink something warm before heading home.
When it is just too effing cold to leave the house:
Before you resort to flipping on the television, please consult the following list:
1) READ!!! For the love of god, do not watch t.v. when there’s a good book around. (Check my reading list if you need suggestions)
2) Um. Blog? If you’ve got one, this is a good time to fatten it up a little.
3) Cook or Bake. Warm the house up by putting your oven to use. Now’s a great time to try out recipes you didn’t have time for before. AND you end up with something warm and gooey (and potentially chocolate??) to eat when done. (Bonus if you make something that allows everyone to lick the bowl).NOTE: If you take the aforementioned dessert or meal and sit in front of the t.v. with it, you lose major points. Sit in front of the fire, or light some candles at the kitchen table, and chow down on whatever you’ve created while you watch the snow fall outside instead.
4) Clean the house. I know this sounds lame, but while Spring Cleaning gets all the glory, there’s something to be said for using all this time cooped up indoors to perk up your prison cell 😉
5) I don’t know how to put this….. um…..”Quality Time” with your S.O., if you have one. And by “Quality Time” I mean whatever that means to you and yours. I put intimacy WAY before Lost reruns.
6) Get your friends together for Rock Band. Or find out which one of your friends has Rock Band and/or MarioKart capabilities, and organize a winter concert and/or tournament at their place. I used to be adamantly anti-video game, but with the advent of the Wii, these things are much more valuable – not only can I actually play them (due to the more obvious controls), but they require interaction and can be great social activities.
7) Devote some time to your inner artist. Whether you play music, draw, paint, sculpt, craft or write (or anything else I left out), spend some time doing a little art for art’s sake. No pressure. No deadline. Just your imagination and a couple of hours to give it some exercise.
8 ) Speaking of which, just because you can’t make it to the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t get a workout at your place. Plenty of free downloadable workout videos exist on the internet, or, if you have an animal like Gabe, give that sucker the attention he craves, and I guarantee you will both get a workout.
Right, well, my stomach has just informed me via strange noises that it is beginning to consume itself, so time for lunch. Promise I’ll be back to fill this list out a bit. At its current length, you’ll be out of ideas by New Year’s Day. While I scarf, please enjoy the following xkcd comic, entitled “No One Must Know“: