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so winter is on where i live. i know the calendar says it is fall, but trust me on this one.  it is cold. it is dark at 4:20pm. D A R K. that is so not cool. once the snow begins to fall it will stick around til sometime mid march or april. i love summer. i love sun. i like to be tan. i like to be barefoot. none of this winter stuff bodes well for me. so what does a girl like me do?   develop some serious coping skills, that’s what. i have a few…

  • candles.  i now buy them like i do milk.  each week a new box of taper candles comes home with me. i light them around 4:15 and burn them all the way down. thank you trader joes.
  • chicken and dumplings. (trust me this stuff has medicinal qualities.)
  • loaveS of banana bread.  some with chocolate chips, some plain, occasionally one just for me loaded with walnuts.
  • color. red mostly. favorite red cardigan. favorite red toque. red plaid scarf.
  • trinkets from sunny california. i bought myself a sweet vintage enamel ring (a yellow flower) and a vintage melmac plate (also with yellow and orange flowers) as my souvenirs from my time in palm springs.  i plan on pulling them out all winter long and pretending i am back in sunny california. this could work right?
  • big tub of petroleum jelly. in winter my skin holds its very own protest. my lips crack. my hands crack. my heels crack. last year i discovered by covering myself in good old petroleum jelly i can avoid most of this. it is not at all trendy or sexy, but it IS a heck of a lot sexier than i am without it.
  • strings of twinkle lights.  not just for christmas.  therapeutic.
  • if i was more of a drinker i would list whiskey, but alas i am a lightweight, probably the biggest lightweight of the bunch, so instead how about some spiced chai latte.  again, thank you trader joes.

come february winter will undoubtedly break me and i will be crying sobbing in my chai, but for now i am finding comfort in these few things.

so tell me your tricks. what am i missing to help get me through the next 5 months?

i will sit here in the dark and stare at my twinkle lights and wait for your answer.

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  1. kate #
    November 27, 2012

    Oh, I hear you…we’re at about a 4pm sunset and 830am sunrise. We’ve got about a foot on the ground and it’s bitter and windy and shitty out. I too hate winter. It feels like being buried or suffocated. My secrets: coffee dates with friends (bulky coats off, hot drinks flowing, babies on the floor under the table eating god-knows-what off the floor); really festive flannel sheets (I will not be cold in bed, dammit); planning/dreaming/scheming to find that perfect weekend getaway to the mountains (hotel must have heated indoor pool, there must be fun outdoor snowy things to do…oh, and it can’t cost hundreds and hundreds…therein lies the rub for the most part, hence the scheming and farting around on travel discount websites). Finally, trying, so, so hard to partake in the wintery stuff on offer in our city (Xmas tree lighting, festive ice carving, etc) without dropping out due to the forecast and the dark.

    I like the twinkly lights…I might just have to hit a coupla places and pick some up – that definitely sounds like it might take the edge off.

    • November 27, 2012

      ok see i LOVE all of these ideas! heated swimming pool is GENIUS!!!! off to google one near me..

  2. November 27, 2012

    electric mattress pad… we turn it on about an hour before going to bed… so the bed is completely toasty for reading those last few pages before drifting off. we don’t have it like you do, though. the other thing i focus on is that once we hit solstace, the days really are getting longer… there really is more light (even if it’s hard to believe it)!

    • November 27, 2012

      we used to have one of those pads when we lived in PA. i had forgotten all about that… and i can’t read enough right now. i finished my book on saturday and was sad all weekend since our library is closed sunday and monday. but i will be there today to grab my next book.

  3. November 27, 2012

    Citrus–oranges, pomegranates, limes…all the vitamin C you can stand!

    • November 27, 2012

      yes i really start pulling out our juicer more in the late winter months… so necessary.

  4. taunia #
    November 27, 2012

    hot spiced chai, knitting, and my hot water bottle- every night. ❤

    • November 27, 2012

      i am a terrible knitter. i learn by watching others, not by reading books, so i need a knitting buddy… my mom always had a hot water bottle nad i have seen more than one pop up on flickr these days and i think i may need to treat myself to one. maybe santa will bring me one. 😉

  5. dianeschuller #
    November 27, 2012

    you got me with the twinkle lights. But I also love the idea of non-stop (during waking hours anyway) candle burning. Love that. I too wear colourful and sunny clothes. I drive store clerks crazy when I’m looking for coats because I want colour and all they have is black, brown, dark grey. But I now have a brilliant yellow winter jacket and everyone comments on it — the best part is that I feel uplifted wearing it. 🙂

    • November 27, 2012

      i am such a hard fit when it comes to winter jackets… i usually have to buy a mens and they are almost always black or grey… i love the thought of a sunny yellow one!

  6. November 27, 2012

    great list of coping techniques! the petroleum jelly one freaks me out although my 80 year old mama swears by the stuff.

    i second beth on the indoor pool although it doesn’t have to be an expensive trip. a trip to the pool is our go-to-winter-doldrums-family-activity a couple of times a year. we actually drive an hour and a half north, crossing the border into canada to the nearest town with a community pool, adding to the feeling of am exotic getaway: day-trip to a foreign country! swimming, floating, stretching, playing, soaking in warm water, then returning home for a good night’s sleep. good stuff. (i’ve been known to sign up the kids for swim lessons in march just when the roads are starting to improve again but spring still seems light years away.)

    last year when my mom-in-law asked what we wanted for christmas we requested a gift card to the sushi place in the next town south of here an hour away. paying for the drinks and covering the tip ourselves we managed to get 4 date nights out together just the two of us. no kids allowed. no unneeded stuff under the tree. best present ever. repeating again this year.

    • November 27, 2012

      i need a sushi date night badly… great idea asking for that gift card. first i need to find a sitter! with no family within 200 miles, that is the hard part…

  7. November 27, 2012

    I love to read how you have found some pretty cool ways to deal with the dark. Since I am a California girl, I really wish I could bottle up some of our sunshine and send it your way. I always sit from afar and admire pretty falls and snowy winters and wonder what it would be like?

    • November 27, 2012

      in the beginning it is as magical and beautiful as it all looks in photos. but as it drags on and on and on it begins to wear on me… some years more than others. just having recently visited your very sunny state, i was amazed how warm it still was, and how everything is still in bloom! what a gift.

  8. November 27, 2012

    I loved your winterizing suggestions. Winter use to mean rain for us, days and days of rain. By February I was ready to pull my hair out. Do you know that the folks in Seattle go through more sun glasses than anyone else, because they get used so rarely. We also read a lot. But now in Eastern Washington we wake up to blue sky and sun more days than not. It is cold and yes, dark at 4:30, but blue sky… it just helps so much. Candles and chai latte’s; you read my mind.

  9. Kris #
    November 27, 2012

    I don’t live in the mountains anymore, but music is my cures for the winter blues. Beach music – Jimmy Buffett. Beach Boys. Or Motown or disco… Crank it! Anything fun you can dance silly to. A good 10 minute post-supper dance party is good for the heart and soul. If all else fails, come to Texas. ♫♪We got the Heat ♫. 😉

  10. November 27, 2012

    Hot water bottles, fleece & wool blankets, loads of hot tea of most any sort, bourbon (hot toddies!), just the sight of plaid fabric, trips to the (humid & hot) indoor botanical gardens near our house, wool socks, and wearing a scarf both indoors & out. 🙂
    So far we’ve only had 2 days below 20 degrees, and it’s looking balmy with a high of 56 on Sunday! Maybe the cold is going to wait until Christmas to come, I sure wouldn’t mind that.

    • November 28, 2012

      i need more flannel and a hot water bottle in my life stat!

  11. November 27, 2012

    love this. 🙂

    my dad is a SUN lover too and finds himself living in the dark, drippy redwood forest in santa cruz, ca. i sent him your post to encourage him.

    and i’m WITH you on the candles. i *do* live in ca but STILL burn candles EVERY night. i’m sure my husband thinks i’m loony.

  12. November 27, 2012

    Hmmm, coping with winter. We homeschool our 5 kids so I must say I pull up my big girl panties and act like a kid. I go outdoors when I don’t feel like, make hot chocolate and popcorn a lot, wear snow pants, and cozy up to read lots of books with my crew (we still all read together every evening). For my Mommy time I have a hobby, like your knitters in above comments, – I sew. I’m down with the cozy sheets too. When my hubby travels (biathlon) I go to bed well padded in robes and plenty of blankets. Another habit to adopt is exercise!!! Just a few short minutes of lovely burpees a day will boost your mood IMMENSELY!!! And boost your bum too. Which is cheering.

  13. November 27, 2012

    I wish I had some good suggestions to add to yours; but the truth is, I struggle so much this time of year that I barely do much more than hibernate. I miss the sunshine most.

    • November 28, 2012

      My mind came back to your question today & I thought of something that really does help me get past the winter blahs. Sing! Put in your favorite music & sing at the top of your lungs. If singing doesn’t do it for you, dance or try yoga. Whatever it is, find a creative outlet. That has always been my greatest strength to get me through the roughest times. I hope that helps. 🙂

  14. November 27, 2012

    I need to just give into the petroleum jelly thing. I’m all cracked up. And not in a laughing sort of way.

    I have no coping skills which is why I probably go nutty every winter. I’m going to borrow some of yours. Let’s make 2012-2013 a better winter for me too!

    • November 28, 2012

      they make these tiny little tubs now. they are beyond cute. i will have to mail you one. casey has one and keeps it in her backpack. i have both of the kids lather it on their lips and chins after brushing teeth. seems to really be working. and i know it works for me.

  15. November 28, 2012

    Twinkly lights are definitely the way – I saw a house in full blown Christmas light mode on my horrific 2.5 hour commute on Monday (it normally takes 30 mins) and they immediately put a big smile on my face.
    A nice warm, loving house to look forward to when you get home – fires, cups of tea and comfort food!

  16. Lynn #
    November 28, 2012

    November is the hardest month for me. We usually make up things to do to keep our brains off the cold and snow. One night might be games, or a good puzzle, or finishing the AFI Top 100 movie list, or having a dance party. We also visit our local Domes (conservatory) and bask in the warmth of the tropical dome. We also like swimming at the local jr. high. Hot tea, coffee, Tom and Jerry’s, oranges and chocolate definately help too. We try to take one small weekend trip to a hotel with a nice pool and hot tub in January.

    I also try to remember that winter is a time of rest and working on myself and the INSIDE of my home. Sometimes in late August when I feel super busy and everything is hectic, I dream of a nice slow weekend in January.

  17. November 28, 2012

    God, I’m completely ape-shit crazy by February. I’m not sure I have coping skills – which is why I’m going to steal some of yours. I’ve recently become addicted to candles and they’re on as early as 4 pm. It’s pretty magical and keeps me from noticing how dreary it is outside. Also, sex. Lots of it. Why not? Warms you up, right?

    • November 28, 2012

      and burns calories of all that banana bread i am consuming! smart lady you are… 🙂

  18. damiec #
    November 29, 2012

    My winter is child’s play compared to yours, so I feel ridiculous complaining, but still February slays me every year. I use many of these techniques, but a few that haven’t made the list – switch from white to red wine with the seasons, and January – February i buy the brightest bunch of fresh flowers i can find at the grocery every week – oranges, reds, yellows, purples and put them on the kitchen table. The gray of winter kills me, and this really seems to help. And, even when it’s cold, if the sky is blue I try to get outside with my camera. Winter light is beautiful to photograph and i find I don’t mind the cold so much if I’m taking pictures. I usually look for new buds on trees or shoots through the snow, finding them helps me put winter in perspective.

    • November 29, 2012

      yes i too buy a lot more store flowers in february. we have to right?! it is not a luxury. it is a necessity. (that is my story and i am sticking to it.)
      i am just made of hearty enough stock for these winters here. i wonder if those born here love it or wind up clawing their way out just like i do? plus i do not ski or ice skate.. i think tat might help me love winters. but alas my very very bad knees and pins in said knee will not allow such things. so i whine. 😉 XO

  19. November 29, 2012

    I know this so well. I grew up in the north of Scotland where in the winter the sun is either coming up or going down and the light is pale and wan at best. We went to and came home from school and work and all activities of interest in the dark. Now I’m in Maryland where it is better but still….I feel the weight of all that darkness. I too live by candle light. Our family always ate dinner by candle light every night. It made the winter feel special. I bake. The foods of comfort and winter. Shepards pie. Apple crisp. Macaroni and cheese. I make hot breakfast – pancakes, biscuits, waffles. I make to keep my hands busy. I keep the fire permanently roaring. I gather our family together. We cuddle, talk and read, tucked under blankets. I put hot water bottles in everyone’s beds so that diving under cold covers is less painful. And I drink in warmth – apple cider with cinamon and cloves. Mulled wine. And before bed mugs of hot water, lemon, honey and a dribble of whiskey to keep out the cold. xo xo xo

    • November 29, 2012

      everyone is tempting me with hot water bottles! now i know why my mom always had one. any good place to buy them? and i love the list of comfort foods you just listed, mmmmm yes…..

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