I live in between two pretty decent sets of neighbours.
If you read my neighbour post last year for the A-Z Challenge you’d know this is a truly rare gift.
What makes these people great?
We all seem well matched in temperament, personality styles, communication and what it means to be respectful.
This is magic enough but in the Winter time something extra, extra happens:
By some unspoken agreement, we seem to have decided that whoever gets out there first, shovels the sidewalks. Sometimes its me or the Hubs, sometimes its the young couple, sometimes its the family next door.
Not a Winter day has gone by without one of us, shoveling the other walks along with our own.
No thanks are spoken, no mention is made. It’s our actions that are speaking loud and clear ❤
As you all know, this Winter has been a cold one. ( As Winters are…) I’ve survived mostly by keeping the cold goings on, in the background. I don’t remark about it, I don’t pay any attention to it. I focus on whatever is in front of me at the time. It’s been working great and has allowed me to start noticing all the LOVELY things about Winter, all the little gifts from the cold. Like:
Hot laundry on a cold day!
There is something so comforting about folding hot laundry when you’re freezing your ass off. Its not just the temperature that makes me feel good, its the great contrast between temperatures. Icy air against burning hot fabric. The hot makes the cold feel GOOD! Which in my mind, is something of a miracle 🙂 I may almost miss this one. I may even look forward to this come Summer…whaaaaaaat?!
With Spring well on her way, our lives are heading for a big change! The things we find pleasurable will change so I want to know, what are some of your Winter pleasures?
If there has ever been a month built for reading, it has been this past December.
While weather in Edmonton hasn’t been cold, its been fractious. All I want to do is curl up on my couch and read. Luckily for me, I have eyes that see, legs that walk me to the library down the street and my very own borrowing privileges. Life is good.
A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness was a fun read! I see that it’s #1 in a series of 3, and that has me all excited because I really liked it. It’s a book about witches and demons and vampires. It’s romantic and fantastical…and problematic at points- my feminist side was cringing at times- but over all it was a quick and engaging read and I didn’t hate the characters by the end for any of the things that made me cringe, ha!
When Breathe Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a true accounting of a dying man’s life. Dude is a young doctor and he’s diagnosed with cancer. I was excited about this one because a. reading about death is my jam b. it had gotten rave reviews c. it sounded like it would be touching and thoughtful. I mean, just look at that title! Unfortunately for me, while I felt sad at times, this book lacked depth and emotion. Perhaps I should not listen to hype. May he rest well, at any rate.
Now this one, was very different. The End Of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe is about the books Will and his Mum read and discuss while going to Mum’s cancer treatment appointments. Its the story of a life, a family. It was thought provoking and tender. Honest and human. I liked it a lot. Twas a good read!
Ugh! Look! A movie scene cover. I hate that! But I read The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, anyway! And you know, it was good. At first I really found the odd format tedious but after putting it down for a bit and coming back to it refreshed, I found it easier to get into. After that, I was fine. I don’t want to wreck the story for you so I’ll just say this is in an interesting, quirky read with memorable characters. It made me think and want to delve into the history of certain things more. I love it when books do that!
I know right? Whaaaaat?! The Pornographer’s Daughter by Kristin Battista-Frazee was not nearly as salacious as I’d hoped for. Which I suppose is precisely the author’s point. Its the story of her childhood that wasn’t really all that special except for one thing: her dad distributed the movie Deep Throat, had some legal troubles and then later went on to work further in the industry. This was an alright read. There was some magical thinking at work here that I wasn’t able to connect with but it was written well enough and now I know a thing or two about the movie Deep Throat. Ha.
What To Do When It’s Raining by Marissa Stapely is a little book, likened to something written by Nicholas Sparks. I didn’t find that all. The first chapter was great but then it just got complicated and hard to follow. I had to set it down *gasp!
I’ve been watching The Crown so when I saw this book – 99 Glimpses Of Princess Margaret by Craig Brown- on a book list somewhere, I quickly added it to my list. It came in and I read it in one day. It.was.good! Not your average biography and what a relief at that! This book is such a breath of fresh air in the genre and I really hope other authors follow suit. The author paints an honest picture of a complex person and makes them seem all too human, the good, the bad and the ugly. It pulled me straight through til the end.
The Wizard And The Witch by John C. Sulak was weird. I guess that’s no real surprise considering the subject matter. More than that, it was boring to read about two assholes who thought most highly of themselves and treated other people like crap.
Born Weird by Andrew Kaufman WAS weird but delightfully so! I enjoyed this book so much, my only complaint being that it was scarce in details I wanted to know more about! A quick and entertaining read.
I had such high hopes for The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD. It was a little long and technical for me although it tried not to be. Clearly a ME problem 🙂 It held a lot of vital information within and I’ll probably pick it up again sometime.
I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh is not my usual jam-mystery- but I really liked it. It has a twist that I didn’t see coming at all and deals with a matter that is quite alarming and leads you to think all kinds of things. Love that!
From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein was a fun and entertaining read. I blew through in an evening- New Year’s Eve to be exact-and found it well worth my time. It’s part insight look to a way of life I knew nothing about while being a personal memoir. I liked.
Heart-Breaker by Claudia Dey was a total train wreck of a book. In the best possible way. I don’t know how the author took such a strange and twisted story and made me fall in love with it, but she did. A quick read. A read that will stick with you long after you’re done. Go get it!
Becoming by Michelle Obama. I want to be this woman when I grow up! Do you think she’s really as awesome as she seems to be? I hope so. This was a great read! It was honest and inspiring. She just makes me want to be a better person on the whole. Entertaining and enlightening, this was a great read.
Not too shabby for a month, hey?!
I’ve got one book down for January already and of course, a HUGE pile just waiting in the wings. I’ve signed up for the GoodReads Challenge again but that’s Friday’s post. Until then HAPPY READING!
We made it! Well, some of us. Its such a gift to live to see another day.
I honestly feel really uncomfortable saying that. I know for a fact a lot of people don’t think another day is a gift. Another day of suffering. Woohoo. *eye roll. Shelter, food and safety would be the real gift. Good health would be another.
I live with someone who thinks his life has gone on way too long and considers death, the real gift. The impulse to scold him or try and “inspire” him to change his mind is strong. I’ve since learned its actually pretty fucking hurtful, annoying and not the least bit helpful to do so. Not to mention totally disrespectful and reeking of my good privilege. Gah!
How’s this: If you’re happy and grateful to have another day, YAY! Let’s do this!
If having another day brings you nothing but sorrow and suffering. I’m sorry. May you be free from suffering. I love you.
You all know what camp I’m in! I am excited and grateful for another day, another week, another month , another year. Hopefully I get all those!
You see, I’ve got some plans 🙂 Some things I’m looking forward to.
Its six months until Lune, my birthday month. One whole month devoted to Moi. An entire month of intentionally devoting my days to the joy of being me in this world. I highly recommend all people celebrate themselves this way. 1. its fun 2. the very act of doing so shows others that you know you are worthy of respect and love 3. you get to act the fool for a month and GET AWAY WITH IT 4. you totally deserve it! 5. It really fosters a loving relationship with yourself, over time. You might feel silly at first but it wont be long before you’re planning fucking trips to Europe for your 50th. 6. It spills out positively in other areas of your life.
Planning my garden. I want to grown some more unusual -for me- things this year. And I cannot wait to eat the shit out of my asparagus patch ❤
Being all creative. I’ve got an idea for some paintings and some bracelets and some scarves and some decorations and some rocks…
Book Club! We’ve got some good books picked out and the ladies in the club are just the BEST. I’m excited to get to know them better. I’m excited for more fun and shenanigans!
Mr. OV and Ms. Sassafras turn one and five. I’m excited to watch them as they grow and develop further.
Walking and hiking in nicer weather. Our winter thus far has been lovely! If only people would CLEAR THE FUCKING ICE OFF THEIR SIDEWALKS! Ahem. Sorry. I’m looking forward to stress free walking and hikes in the woods.
Our road trip to a little mountain town and a couple of zips on a coaster!
Getting back on my Hubs motorcycle. It feels so good to zoom through the warm air with nothing between me and the sky but my clothing.
All the little holidays and celebrations that are coming up.
Family dinner, lunches and brunches.
Meals out with friends.
My big solo trip to one of my favourite places on Earth. Just me, my ocean and my trees. Back to my Sea Witch roots 🙂
Opening up my big jar of good memories for the year.
Becoming my own boss. I mean I am, already. I just don’t get paid for it. Ha ha. I’m talking about earning all the moola as my own boss.
More bird song. Kinda like more cow bell.
Every new recipe I’m going to try.
Every new drink the coffee places bring out this year.
More time with the people who love me.
The funny memes that make me laugh, the inspirational quotes that shore me up and the poems that empower me.
The moments of wonder in Nature that stop me and fill my heart and soul.
Lazy days of reading.
Hectic days of doing ALL THE THINGS!
Camping. Hopefully. If we get a new hoopty or fix the old one.
Becoming stronger, stable and more bendy.
Those weird little moments in life that make you think and feel.
Geesh! I could go on and on 🙂 Now, its your turn! What are you looking forward to?
I don’t know what you’re doing right now. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m doing right now (because I am a sneaky post scheduler) Probably sleeping or opening presents with my man or eating some delicious breakfast or drinking some delicious drink. BUT whatever it is I hope it fills your heart with joy and love.
If that’s not possible for whatever reason just know that I LOVE YOU (yes YOU. Yes, I REALLY do) and that my heart is with you. No matter what.
BUT in my 16 years of long, hard winter hating living, I’ve learned a few things a person can do make the cold seasons, a little less shitty. Sadly, I don’t have a magic wand to make it ALL go away – you could move South?- but if you do a few of these things a day, you too can survive until Spring. (Spring, Spring. Not the date on the calendar. We all know Spring doesn’t really come to Edmonton until June. Ugh)
ANYWAY. Here we go!
Ignore it. Seriously. Don’t look outside. Don’t watch weather reports. Don’t complain about it. Don’t engage in conversation about it. Don’t even acknowledge the outside world. Pretend like it doesn’t exist. The weather is like a bad ex you see on the street. Avert your eyes and walk on by. You’re better than that! They don’t deserve your attention!
We may be ignoring the -20c but we’re not stupid. Buy yourself some warm gear. Spend the money, if you can, on a good jacket. Buy those cute (warm) boots, buy a colourful scarf with hats and mitts to match. Hell, buy several! The dollar store is your friend here. The trick is to put as many warm things as you can between your skin and the asshole weather. I hear layering is a good thing. Do that!
Remember the transition period is the hardest part. Once you acclimatize from Summer to Fall, you’ll feel better. Let yourself be grumpy. Take extra care of you during this time. Trust me, 5c is going to start feeling warm soon and then you’ll know you’ve made it! I’m only miserable for ten minutes until I warm up! Time how long it takes you to warm out and celebrate your success as week by week you acclimatize too!
Drink warm liquids. Make an event out of it. Soups, teas, coffee, whatever. Add these into your day as a time just for you. Embrace the warmth of the cup, the flavours, the coziness of the break in your day. This is how we get by, sip by sip.
Movies! Movies are your friend. Preferably in your own house so you don’t have to go outside. Movies are a great way to kill a few hours of yucky weather AND if you choose a documentary you’ll learn something too! You’re going to be a genius by the time this is over!
Exercise. Yeah. Lame. I know. BUT exercise improves your mental health and in order to survive something challenging, we need good mental health. There are lots of things we can do indoors. Hell, sometimes on really cold days I just walk in circles in my home, like the caged animal I am. You could go to a mall or find a gym,or go online, or lift weights or do yoga or get yourself a treadmill…move that body. Your Spring self will thank you.
Take advantage of the sun. No, no. I’m not asking you to go outside. All I’m saying is that IF the sun is shining, go get yourself some rays. Sit in the window. Let your body get some Vit. D. You may very well find yourself inspired to go outside. And that’s ok too! Just don’t become one of those smug assholes who does nothing but talk about how much they loooove winter while the rest of us sit there miserable. Gah.
Don’t force yourself to go outside. Don’t force yourself to love Winter. You feel what you feel and that’s OK. You might even find once you stop shoulding on yourself you WANT to go out and do things. It could happen. Yesterday I chose to walk to the mall after choosing to hole up inside the day before. Balance people! Oh. And choice. You have free will. You don’t like the cold. That’s just fine. It doesn’t make you bad or negative. It’s just a preference and its yours. ignore those smug Winter lovers, I betcha they’re lying anyway.
Have you heard of Hygge? It’s a whole thing about coziness and comfort and WARMTH and LIGHT and fun with an emphasis on well-being. It’s perfectly suited for the cold season. Go find out for yourself. And then hygge it up!
Stay connected with the humans. It’s very tempting to isolate oneself ( I’m looking at you Lael) Resist the urge. It just makes these dark days all the darker. Get out there and be social. However that comfortably looks to you. Doing stuff with friends, even just coffee, makes the time go by faster. My friends are sometimes the ONLY reason I make it in a day and I love them for it. And hey! YOU could be the reason someone else makes it. You never know…Just get out there, at least twice a week and be social. You can be a hermit the other 5 days. Trust me, Winter will go by faster.
Hang in there. Dec 21 is the Solstice AND the start of Winter. This used to depress me until I realized that on the Solstice, THE LIGHT COMES BACK! Sure, it’s still freezing ass cold but its on its way out. The light comes back and with the light comes more hours of sun. And with more hours of sun comes the heating. And with the heating comes the Spring. Before you know it, you’ll be saying “Winter? Did we even have a Winter?” Back in glorious denial but hopefully a little wiser than the year before and ready to face the cold weather once more. YOU CAN DO THIS.