Thursday, November 20, 2014

My new-found reasons not to whine about winter


Many years ago, I was a young teacher and very excited about the first snow fall of the year. I was thoroughly squashed by one of the older teachers.  Winter, apparently, was not something to be celebrated or enjoyed.  Silly me, I kept on having fun.  But over the years, winter has started to bother me.  Probably because of endless long commutes in minus thirty weather. Perhaps because of freezing rain and the resulting fender benders. Maybe it’s too many years of salt-stained boots, missing single gloves, fogged up car windows. Maybe it’s once too often at the self-serve gas station when it’s minus twenty-seven and there’s only two drops of gas left in the tank. Lots of reasons, but never mind. This year, I said to myself, either get a grip or move somewhere warm.  Of course, this is where the family is and I am pretty sure I wouldn’t like hurricane season any more than winter.  Don’t like being too hot either, but that’s another post.

So here are some of my reasons to not whine about winter (and as the season wears on for five months, let’s see if I can manage it!)
It can be beautiful!  

There’s something magical about a bright blue sky,  brilliant white snow swirling around.
You never know what you’ll find when you look out your window. Last year it was men in trees. Here are some shots of what the tree removal guys who were endlessly entertaining, although I wouldn't want that job. Still,it was part of winter fun for us. They claimed to love their jobs.

You don't see these guys griping about the weather, although I could sympathize if they did!

There’s something so wonderful about curling up with a book, and a cozy throw, perhaps by a fireplace, when it’s cold and dreary outside.  It’s great to read and snooze in the sun in a lounger on the deck in summer, but honestly, this is better. 

You get to wear sweaters!  I love sweaters – but for half the year, they’re too darn hot. On that list we can add knee-high lined boots and puffy coats.  All good.   And there's some great warm clothing for certain short-legged pets too! 

And then there’s knitting: it’s less of a warm-weather activity. Lots of fun with baby hats, sweaters and scarves around here.  


Then there’s all that great winter food: soups and stews and lovely aromatic meals cooking for hours. Noit to mention hot chocolate!  

In the night, of course, you can snuggle under the blankets.  Okay, skip over this if you have hot flashes. You can just stand outside for a bit in the winter. That sure has helped me!

The geese will be gone somewhere else.  Ho ho ho.   The snow tires are on the car, the winter clothing has been unpacked!  The boots have had their waterproof spray. Now we just need to find a better supply of the seeds that the cardinals love and the squirrels don't.

Of course, being a writer, I can just stay home and enjoy it.  Maybe that gives me an unfair advantage. I might never have written this in the years I ventured out to the day job in the dark winter mornings. 

Now, it’s your turn. Winter fun? Or winter none?  What do you love and what do you hate? All tips gratefully received. 


Unknown said...

We don't get extreme winters like you do. We will get into the low 30's but seldom get into the 20's (and below zero is something I have no desire to even sample). But there are still some winter pleasures that we have in common. For instance, I LOVE "sweater weather". It's amazing the imperfections you can hide under a sweater. I so prefer that to trying to "suck it in". Unfortunately, it's mid-November and we haven't really had cool enough weather to wear sweaters during the day (evenings are a little cooler).

And snow truly is beautiful - as long as I don't have to live in it. My brother lives in Connecticut and he posts a lot of beautiful pictures, which I really enjoy.

And, of course, curling up in front of a fire with a good book is always pleasant. Unfortunately, from November through February, we have to check a website before we can have a fire - to make sure it's allowed (so you don't get fined). We have "Spare the Air" restrictions and unless it's raining there's a good chance a fire in the fireplace (or even an outside firepit) will not be allowed.

For me, fall and winter are usually my favorite seasons. Spring is nice too, although they're usually short and then we move into 100+ degree summers.

This winter, I'm hoping we get a lot of "bad" weather. We need lots and lots of rain (and snow in the mountains) to help lessen our severe drought conditions. So maybe you could share a bit of your cold, wet weather with us, and we can send you some of our warm, dry weather. Somewhere in the middle might be nice for both of us :-)

Anne said...

Ahhh bring some snow!!!! Well here it's short days and when it's supposed to be daytime, it's just cold, grey and gloomy. The upside this time of year is, that lots of people will decorate with lights to celebrate the holiday season to come, but it's really depressing when Januar comes and the lights are taken away.

Sometimes we do get snow and lots of it, but some winters we hardly see any snow flakes. Now here are some funny facts - I do live in a Scandinavian country and people abroad believes that we always get lots of snow. Well not this country, flat as a pancake (highest point is 482 feet) tucked in between Sweden, Norway and Germany and the weather always seem to happen either north of us or south.

When there is snow on the ground, you get this blueish shade of light from the snow that brightens up the otherwise grey days and dark nights and the squeaky sound of fresh snow under your boots signals something fresh and untouched. People are forced to slow down, and if people could except the forces of nature and forget about the stress they might actually enjoy the slow paste.

Yes it's grey outside now - but that's my excuse to light tea lights, drink tea, cuddle up under a blanket and read books while dreaming of snow - and when the snow do come, I'll still do all of the above, bring forth the snow boots and thick layers off clothes and take a walk around 7pm in the local parks and just enjoy the white stuff on the ground

Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

MJ, your photos are lovely, but I get chills just thinking about snow. We don't have any here in the northeast (yet!) but I know it will come. You are such a positive person, I'll try to be more cheerful about the impending winter months. (but I'm bound to whine now and then.) great blog!

Karen in Ohio said...

That's an awfully cute little model you show in that sweater and hat set! Such kissable little cheeks! I wouldn't want to move away from those cheeks, either.

I really needed your positive mental attitude about winter today, MJ. I detest the cold, and tend to hibernate more every winter, huddled under my microwave-heated rice bag and fleece blankets, or with my feet on the fender of the roaring fireplace. Time to read, drink hot tea, and some evenings, hot cider, spiked with bourbon if my husband is around.

We have a 300'-long driveway, and I end up doing the lion's share of the shoveling. Somehow, my husband always manages to leave for work before the bulk of the snow has fallen. His car can negotiate the steep ends of the drive, even if it's icy, but mine can't, so if I want to be able to leave the property in between snows I have to get out and either shovel or use the snowthrower. Which does not work for all kinds of snow. Last winter we have three inches of ice on top of six inches of snow, combined with a week of around-zero temps. The "snow" was more like concrete for several days, and I was pretty well stuck.

Diane said...

I'm a Spring and Fall kind of girl,(woman). I don't like the Fla heat and I don't like the snow. It's pretty at first but when it gets dirty it's not nice. Since I don't have a garage anymore, I really Hate the snow. First I have to put my car across the street if it's going to snow..Then I have to get up by 6 to see if the plow guys are here and I have to then scrape off my car and move it back to my side after they plow. Then they can plow the other side. Last year my battery died and they had to push me back to my side. Now I hate, really hate all this. Did I say I hate it? That being said, I sure glad I don't have all the snow they are getting in NY state and the mid west. So I guess I will not complain much this year, if I can control myself.

Anonymous said...

I live in the south. So winter snow is crazy here when we get it. I personally think it is so pretty to look outside and everything is white. But I don't like it if I ever have to get out and drive in it.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

So true, Diane! There's something good and no-so about everywhere. We have been feeling for you with that terrible drought. If only we could even things out a bit.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Sounds like Denmark! Snow or not, it's a wonderful country. Had the privilege to visit in 1970 - it was pretty cool in August in Copenhagen.

I love how you take joy in your weather, Andaje!

Hugs, MJ/VA

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Go ahead and while, Mary! Or as we like to say around here, go ahead and wine.

Nudge wink.



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Oh boy, Karen! That driveway sounds grim. We have caved and have ours plowed for us, We get tons of snow and wind here and most people have to do that. We've decided it's a business expense.

I love the idea of the heated rice bag and the fleece blankets and the roaring fire. Friendships keep us warm too. Thanks for being mine!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

Oops, Lynda! I was answering out of order and called you Diane. But I know who you are. Hugs, MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

But do you hate it? Just kidding. I hear you, Diane! A garage saves a lot of grief in winter. In our last place ours was full of stuff, not car, and we had those car moving events too.

Brrrr. Stay warm!



Mary Jane Maffini said...

It makes a big difference to have winter tires - you really need them here to cope with the roads in winter. Promise you'll stay in if it snows where you are!



Karen in Ohio said...


Hugs back!

Linda said...

Haven't had my car in the garage for over two winters. Thank goodness we don't get snow here. I had enough snow, ice, scrapping windshields, defrosting windows, and waiting forte car to warm up & checking/adding antifreeze at the last possible cold moment!