Thursday, January 8, 2015

Seven tips to cope with January


Cheerfully brought to you by Mary Jane Maffini aka Victoria Abbott 



















According to my weather service, with the temp and the wind chill, it feels like minus 35 today.  The princess dachshunds hold me responsible, but I know there’s no one to blame.  I’ve decided after 33 years, to stop fighting Ottawa winters and just go with the snow.  If you live in central Canada or the mid-west of the USA, you may find these tips useful.  If you live somewhere warm, mild or even just rainy, feel free to send sympathy.  But maybe we don’t need that.  We have ways of coping and even being happy.


Here are my favorite tips for keeping the smile on my face despite what’s happening outside.

1.   Make oatmeal for breakfast.  Add maple syrup, brown sugar and cream.  There has to be an upside to these temps.  It’s probably too cold for calories to do whatever it is they do and anyway there was a frost quake in our region this week (yes, it's a real thing!)  and so we need a treat to make up for that.







2.       Curl up with some warm pets.  In time they will forgive you for the bad weather. In the meantime, they feel wonderfully cuddly. Of course, you might have to hunt for them: Lily tried hiding in a pillow case but was quickly detected.






3.       This may be the best time of year for reading:  think about it, here you are, warm and dry and reading up a storm despite the frigid exterior, slippery roads and wind. I’m almost through the twenty-nine Ngaio Marsh books that my friend Nancy gave me. It’s all research for the fourth Book Collector mystery and therefore work. The fact that I love reading them is neither here nor there.  Peachtree the Pug is impressed.








4.       Oddly enough, I am grateful: for a well-insulated house and plenty of hats, mitts and scarves at hand.

 

 Many people don’t have that. It's good time to make a contribution to one of the many organizations that help people who may be homeless, cold or hungry. Sharing our good fortune can make any day feel better.


5.       Take a tip from bright flowers. These geraniums have survived in my bedroom since they were brought in at first frost last fall. If they can do it, so can we.






6.       Step outside.  No this doesn’t mean having lunch in the screened porch, although I love that in summer.


But to get a bit of natural light can do you a world of good. I’m merely stepping out here to find where the newspaper has been ‘delivered’. 






7.       Consider firing up the grill. What? Oh maybe not today as it’s frozen shut. In that case, take comfort in the warmth of the great friendships that flourish in our reading and writing communities, not matter what the weather.







And now, over to you my friends.  Any tips of coping with January?  Wherever you are, hunkered down inside or strolling barefoot on the beach, let’s hear from you.   We recently Skyped with friends in Australia. They had tips for keeping cool in their heat wave.  All to say, we’re open to everything, here under our fuzzy blanket. 

26 comments:

Gram said...

We must go out today and I am wearing many, many layers. I will look like the "Michelin man". It's minus 3 at the moment without the wind.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Brrrr! I hope it's fun looking like the Michelin man, Gram! I do kind of enjoy the bundling up.

mary kennedy said...

These are wonderful suggestions and I LOVE idea of bringing in flowers. I brought in parsley at the end of summer, but it is struggling to stay alive. The geranium looks really healthy.

Andrea Stoeckel said...

It's -6° here this morning. They did some work on my place yesterday so we walked to a neighborhood cafe. The walk back was brutal, and hours later I was still cold. Everyone stay warm, and keep those furends inside

Karen in Ohio said...

Our favorite thing in cold weather, since we don't have critters, is to heat up a rice bag and snuggle with it. Take two pounds of cheap rice, stitch up the sides of a folded-over tea towel, and pour in the rice (I also add a handful of lavender buds, but some people don't like the scent). Stitch across the end. Microwave for two minutes or more, just enough that the rice gets hot, but without scorching it. It will stay warm for hours, especially if you keep it under a cover or some kind. In the winter my husband wears his across his shoulders; I do that, plus keep it at my lower back if that's bothering me. And I've been known to stuff one into a little pillowcase and preheat the foot of the bed, too.

Karen in Ohio said...

You can also make the heat bags with beans, or with field corn, which actually holds the heat longer.

Anonymous said...

I think you've pretty much covered it. I too have my geraniums and I love the shot of fushia in my laundry room. My books, my yarn, and my cats keep me warm.

Maggie Sefton said...

If Ottawa is colder than the US Midwest, MJ, I don't think I'll visit. Indiana nearly killed me during the 15 years we lived there while my husband was a professor at Purdue. 60 degrees below zero wind chill. Brrrrr! You can't wrap up with enough layers to stay warm. That wind sweeps across the Great Lakes and the flat farmlands of Indiana and freezes your blood. Colorado is waaaaaay milder, really. 50 degrees on Tuesday and again today.

ladyvyvian said...

I'm in southeast Texas where we have winters without it ever getting down to freezing. However, the is not this winter. It was 25 degrees at my house this morning which is very cool for us. We are more used to 100+ degrees in the summer. I am having to keep bundled up in my house than I am used to. I think any visiting I do to Canada will be in the summer. I don't really like it cold.

Jeannie D. said...

Lots of hot tea, pile of cozies, and warm lap kitties!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You will notice that there's no photo of my pathetic parsley or the chives! Thanks, Mary. I guess we take our small victories where we find them.

XO

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You are right, Andrea. There's new research on cold and colds! Used to be an old wives tale (speaking as an old wife ...) but now apparently it's true.

Hugs

MJ/VA

Mary Jane Maffini said...

This is just the BEST idea, Karen. Thanks so much. I am copying it to use.

Hugs!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for that too! I have all of those, plus lavender and vanilla scents.

MJ

Annette N said...

Personally - I am considering moving to a tropical island right on the Equator....I have to find one with a library but it is cold here in Austin and I HATE COLD. All of you who live where it snows every winter have my admiration. I believe each of you must be more brave than I can imagine. Y'all are heroic, and frozen looks really good on all of you.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Come in the summer! It's hot, but rarely unbearably so.

Brrrr.

Hugs,

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

The truth is, Annette, that we have warm, well-insulated houses and the right clothes (the lucky ones do) and it can be invigorating. We do like to complain though and get sympathy from our Texan friends!

Hugs,

MJ/VA

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love that idea, Jeannie D - I'll have lap doggies, (unless I steal my neighbor's big fluffy kitties)!

Heather said...

Some good tips. This weather was made for layers, books, warm snugly blankets and a hot beverage.

Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your post! I am from nothern New York, where my father tells me the wind chill was about -20 yesterday. I don't live there anymore, but I haven't moved far enough away to actually be warm (New Jersey). Here's what I do to oatmeal: top it with sliced bananas, then brown sugar, then broil it or use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. Splash with cream. And when I'm working at my computer, I wrap myself in a warm blanket. Even my feet.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You said it, Heather! I didn't mention blankies and lovely tea or hot chocolate. Thanks for adding.

Hugs,

MJ/VA

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Books, knitting and cuddly pets! Yes! I have one of your hats to keep me warm too.

Hugs.

MJ/VA

Mary Jane Maffini said...

We might be tied with the Midwest, Maggie. Bitterly cold anyway, but not inside.

Hugs

MJ/VA

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks! I love the kitchen torch idea for the brown sugar. I have a blanket on at my computer too, also a small, fat dog.

Hugs

MJ

Kathy Dunn said...

Plenty of bright colors especially when it's so cloudy. We tend to grill A LOT during the winter . Our moto is why stop just 'cuz it's not 100 degrees!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Good thinking, Kathy! I love the idea of bright colors and also love grilling. We have to wait for a thaw though to get our green egg opened. Sniff.

Hugs.

MJ