Monthly Archives: March 2014

Part 1: Tips for the Winter Weary

This is the first in a series of posts geared to keeping us (at least me)  from curling into a tight ball under the blankets until we can wear sandals again.

Hardier than I am crocus, 3/25/14. I have been diligently recording every sign of spring I see.
Parkway crocus, 3/25/14. I am diligently recording signs of spring.

Last week, the vernal equinox opened with a burst of snow that was gone by the barely above freezing afternoon.  The cycle happened again yesterday and the day before. This morning, it was 24 degrees at 7:30 when I left for a run. This March is already on its way to being one of the coldest on record. Spring seems to have missed its plane.

The last winter decoration is stuck in the deeply frozen ground. But the spring tchotchkes are collecting in the foyer.
The last of our winter decorations is stuck in frozen soil.

This winter was grand. I got back into baking bread, Michael honed his crockpot skills, and Miguel was thrilled with all the sledding.  It generated clever parodies of popular songs.* The constantly refreshed snow cover kept the city sparkling and clean(looking). I am even rooting for a few more inches so we can move from bronze to silver in the record books. And, as if to match the season’s intensity, there were many raucous parties, including three trips to The Holidome (a post for another day).

But call the wahmbulence and get out the tiny violin: I am so tired of being cold. Tired of high gas bills, piles of laundry bulked up with fleece PJs, and our disgusting, salt-encrusted foyer. During today’s run, Julie and I compared notes about how tattered our base  layers and warm socks are. Miguel is down to one duct-taped pair of heavy gloves. Perhaps we should have a bonfire to burn the items this winter pushed over the edge of utility. I can’t believe I am desperate for 40 degree days.

Perhaps checking the weather?
Perhaps checking the weather?

Alas, as Mark Twain did not say, “Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” But ahoy! And alleluia! As the Greek stoic and self-help pioneer Epictetus reminds us: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

In that spirit, I am offering a 4-pronged program to help the winter weary keep our heads up during the next few months, even when we are still wearing hats and gloves:

  • Redecorate—Rip down the snowflakes and get out the pastels.
  • Recommit—Step up work on resolutions and to do lists.
  • Record—Notice the small but persistent changes.
  • Rejoice—Look on the bright side of life. Literally.

Stay tuned for more in-depth discussions of these carefully vetted strategies (as in, they needed to alliterate).

*During one of the polar vortex induced school closures, two Chicago Public School teachers recorded a clever take on the song “Royal.” A few weeks ago, Dan Ponce, a reporter for WGN, filmed a video celebrating and poking fun at the weather to the ear-wormy song “Let it Go.” He has a great voice. Both pieces will be perfect time capsules.