Pretty good day to be born (the sunshine and the morning doves agree).
365 days left in my twenties. Oh the possibilities.
There are lots of ways to romanticize winter. There are the majestic snowfalls that transform the world into something undisturbed and peaceful (which, I believe, a part of us always longs for). There are cold nights which give us an excuse to stay put in our most comfortable clothes, under our most comforting blankets, and feel no regrets for our sloth-like behavior. There is the blinding white of bright sunshine on untouched snow. There are indulgent, rich meals, and there is deeper sleep.
Come March the romantic side of winter starts to fade and the less pleasant aspects begin to scream in our face. I have successfully been keeping away dry winter skin, and doing my best to stay hydrated. I believe that the single best approach to keeping away the winter blues though is to take part in activities that you love, especially any that are outdoors. There is nothing that pulls me deeper into the winter blues than extended sluggishness. The remedy for me has been skiing and snowshoeing on the weekends, walking to work, and my gym membership.
I read last week that April and May are supposed to have below average temperatures and my heart sank a little. The promise of spring is a beautiful thing, but the promise of a cold spring is cruel. It could be three months (or more) before we see a 70 degree day. My spirit sinks.
What can I do, but to drag myself to the gym, where a good run will bring me back to myself a little. This afternoon I will go out for a ski, or a snowshoe, and bring my lungs some much needed fresh air. I will cut the tags off my new summer clothes, wash and fold them, and tuck them away in the bin of other warm-weather clothes, as proof that eventually, the warm will return (according the almanac, it will be too warm this summer…).
I encourage you to get outside, even if it’s just for a long walk. You will feel better and it is good to remember that there is still beauty in the world, even at the beginning of March in New England.
Socks that mummy made
Keeping away cold toes on winter nights.
The month that never got crossed off
One of my rituals is to cross off the day on a calendar before going to bed at night. This is something I have been doing for over ten years. I’ve always seen it as closure as well as a way to greet what’s next with anticipation. It symbolizes that time passes, and that in a good way, so much is temporary. It gives us a sense that what we eagerly await grows closer, while things we dread will soon be gone by.
But this month, February, I took a break from the markers. The lines always seem to muck up the view of a pretty picture. I wanted to see if anything would be different, if the month would go by faster (in days or weeks rather than one slow day at a time).
What I found is that starring at a calendar in mid-February without any days checked off is depressing. Getting through February is something to celebrate, but mid-month it looked like it was still February 1. I don’t have this easy feeling that there are only two days left in the month, just a sinking feeling that it’s still February.
Come March 2nd there will be one smooth line on my calendar, because March can be the friend you never expected to stab you in the back.
(No offense to February).
I’m trying a second ferment in kombucha for the first time. The two big jars have ginger in them, and the little one has peaches. In two days I will strain them again and enjoy.
I also have been successful splitting the babies from the mother (although it does make me a little nauseous).
The wind is whipping the flags I can see from my window. I cannot predict whether it will be rain or snow each time I check because it changes in five minute intervals.
The air has been warmer and it makes me antsy. This time of year the tease of spring is deceitful and unfair. I do my best not to appreciate it. If it isn’t white out, it’s brown, from the top of the hill right down to the working waterfront.
I have picked out my next race, but I haven’t decided which course to run. I want to run the 25k (15.5 miles) trail race, but I’m a little nervous. I haven’t raced on trails since cross-country in college. Maybe I should start with the 10k? Long distance is what I enjoy though. Maybe I should just bite the bullet, register, and enjoy the challenge.
The race is in May. That means I have to starting thinking about training soon, and jump in by the first of April. Can I do it? Sure. Could running long distance outside in Maine in April be potentially not enjoyable? Yes. Does that mean I shouldn’t do it? No.
So, what do you think? Which race should I run?
The best winter bath
The winters in New England get harsher the farther north you go. This year I feel like I’ve finally cracked the code to surviving winter and one important factor has been taking care of my skin.
Last fall I discovered Epsom salt, the first ingredient to a great winter bath. It soothes sore muscles (great post ski) and the magnesium helps keep headaches away (I get them regularly regardless of the time of year, but the dry air can contribute). Additionally it helps remove toxins from your body. This is great in the winter when we’re sluggish and less active.
The next ingredients are essential oils and a mild carrier oil. I made the mistake of not using a carrier oil in the bath once and it wasn’t great. I use about a tablespoon and a half of safflower oil (my mild oil of choice) to 6 or so drops of essential oil. I use any combination of orange oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lavender because that’s what I have on hand right now. Recently I’ve been using eucalyptus and lavender. Lavender to help me relax and eucalyptus to help clear any congestion and for its anti-viral and antibacterial properties (which I appreciate when everyone around me is sick). The carrier oil does a great job of moisturizing every inch of my skin.
The last ingredient (other then steaming hot water) is the dried calendula petals I grew last summer and dried in the fall. Calendula has a long list of health improving benefits, including being anti-viral, antitumoral (anticancer), speeding the healing of wounds, reducing inflammation, eliminating chapped lips, and so on.
When I get out if this bath I feel like I have just treated myself to a professional massage. Give it a try and enjoy an hour in la-la land.
Inevitably, the afternoon turned to snow. When I left my office at 6:30 it had really begun to come down. It was thick and the roads were not yet plowed and it was quiet. I am surely in a new place to know such quiet at 6:30 in the evening.
Sometimes I wish my walk home was longer. Just as I start to exhale my day, settle into my walk, and truly notice what is around me I’m on my street and approaching my door.
Everything was white tonight. The old historic houses. The church on the crest, its steeple lit up and faintly glowing. The bare, beautifully symmetrical trees. The road, the sidewalk, everything, white. The flakes were coming down so thick and I tried multiple times to catch things with my camera, things that might convey the peaceful feeling this left me with, but as is often the case, it could not be captured, and so I enjoyed it myself knowing that I did not have to share it; I could marvel at it selfishly. It was just me and that comforting, maternal quiet.
Do you fit into any of these categories?
- small business owner, or starting a new/small business
- make/sell/promote healthy products
- t-shirt/clothing designer
- outdoor enthusiast/outdoor event coordinator/outdoor gear designer
- Maine business
- Maine non-profit
- associated with Maine anything (restaurant, paddleboard maker, organic gardener, vintner, coffee roaster, etc, etc)
- craft your own products
and the list goes on.
If so, I want to chat. I want to meet. I want to connect. I want to work with you. I’ve had a fair amount of success promoting t-shirts and reviewing restaurants (in Portland and the Midcoast area). I want to give you a little exposure, and in turn, get a little exposure. I’m creative, and honest, and rustic, and in touch.
I can give you stats, if you need those. I’m interested in hearing more about you and what you do. If you’re interested in working with me, please let me know. You can leave me a message in my ask box, or shoot me an e-mail at: email@example.com.
Think about it, and then let’s get creative!
I love when you look back on a three day weekend and realize Friday felt like ages ago. This weekend I got lots of exercise and sleep. What a gift. On Saturday I hit the gym and then I explored a new, nearby trail on snowshoes (I only got about half way, I’m eager to check out the rest). On Sunday I went for a long, 2+ hour cross-country ski. Then I had Ghirardelli mocha hot chocolate, and then I sat in the hot tub. On Monday I read about cross-country skiing being one of the best full-body workouts (if not the best workout) a person can get, before going out for another long ski with my mom. Both days were cold and windy, but much more pleasant in the sunshine and in the woods.
I am in love with winter so far.* I resolved to see the good in winter this year, and I’m proud to say that I have been doing so. Having such easy access to the wilderness has made all the difference. And, of course, not having to drive to work is kind of saving the day. Blow, blow, thou winter wind and bring on lots of snow.
This week we’re supposed to get some more snow, and then lots of rain. Here’s hoping there’s more snow after the rain, and that this wasn’t the last good weekend for skiing. If it was, at least I made the very best of it.
*I’m sure that by saying that I have jinxed myself and the rest of winter will be pure misery.