Winter Brings Vengeance

I can feel the cold. It surrounds my house; seeping in through the crappy windows installed when we built knew more than a decade ago. Isn’t it amazing how a window company stays in business for decades when they manufacture crap windows, have crap retail service and send out crap installers to put in their windows? I don’t know how they pull it off. Anyway, my rant today isn’t about crap windows; or maybe it is. My rant is about winter showing up with all of its vengeance in southeastern Michigan. The blustery bitterness makes me long for the amiable tranquility summer offers.

Blustery bitterness comes to my corner of the world.

Blustery bitterness in my corner of the world. Photo credit: kateschannel

Amiable tranquility during Summer 2014 at Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo credit: kateschannel

Amiable tranquility during Summer 2014 at Myrtle Beach, SC. Photo credit: kateschannel

A Case of Winter Snark: Five-Step Recovery Program

For two weeks I have battled a case of winter snark. Despite an appearance of happiness, peace and goodwill my inner voice continues to have more snark as the winter days linger on. Last night, the snark would not shut up. I was trying to fall asleep. It kept listing one complaint after another. Finally, I demanded silence.

While I am not anywhere close to being snark-free, I stopped living in denial last night. I admitted to having winter snark and signed myself up for a self-imposed, five-step recovery program.

1. Listen to my favorite music when and wherever possible. Blink 182, Foo Fighters, Korn, Rob Zombie and  Journey are among the artists who help take me to happier places.

2. Girlfriend time puts winter snark in its place: out in the cold where it belongs. Without fuel, the snark does not have energy to thrive.

3. Exercise is my number-one defense against any kind of snark: winter, cleaning, marital, parenting, alcohol shortage, etc. Fitness is a natural outlet for all negativity to escape. Too bad this doesn’t work while I’m driving. Sign language isn’t enough.

4. Writing is my second line of defense. Again, it is another method I use to relieve stress. Once I write it, it’s no longer a burden. I may still need to resolve a problem. But, I no longer feel it clouding my thoughts. Somehow, I achieve clarity on the direction I should take.

5. Attack action item list, which is always growing. After crossing items off, I felt accomplishment, not dread from excuses for not “doing.”

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Flurries of Flashbacks and Winter Fun

Flurries dance outside my windows. Like a child, I am eagerly watching them stick to the ground. I am hopeful inches will  accumulate for worthwhile playtime in the chilly air.

'70s winter memories at "The Rink".

Flashbacks from childhood in my parent’s backyard play in my head. I see longtime friends — still at ages 6-11 — sledding and skiing down our “bunny” hill. Snowballs zing through the air. School work and classes escape our thoughts for a couple hours of friendly, neighborhood snow wars. Then, there are the scenes from the  dormant veggie garden that served as an ice rink for several years. No one paid for ice time to perfect hat tricks, figure-eights or crack-the-whip skills.

For those of you who follow national weather news, the suburbs just north of the “D” have been without significant snowfall during much of this winter season. Christmas Day looked and felt more like Easter with bright sunshine and 40-plus temperatures. Then, two weeks ago I played 3-on-3 with some girlfriends and their children; outside on the driveway; with temps near 50. That’s unheard of in early January.

We have been loving this flirtation with spring-like weather. But, when I heard my neighbor rev his ride-on mower, I new something as amiss in the Mitten. I started to long for the crisp, cold air; and the snow. What if this was the winter without a snowman, sledding or taste-testing snowflakes?

Despite my fantasies about living it up in some tropical locale all winter long, I don’t think that scenario would ever last in reality. Don’t get me wrong. I get cabin-fever crazed like most of my neighbors; and plot escapes to the tropics. But, just the same, I have lived in the north since birth. I have adapted to finding outdoor fun in all four seasons.

There is fun to be had when the snow flies that just isn’t existent in the Bahamas or Hawaii. Also, my love for spicy rum isn’t limited to spiking smoothies, cola or juice. It’s a fantastic additive to warm-up drinks such as hot cider, chocolate and coffee.