Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter blahs

White covers so much of the landscape right now that when I come inside, I can hardly see where I’m going.

My pupils shrink so much because of the daily brightness outdoors that it takes a few seconds before they grow large enough to see indoors.

The blinding whiteness is pale in comparison to some of the other annoyances with winter — frigid temperatures that I have to sit through while my car takes its sweet time warming up, piles of snow that I have to dodge or shovel away so I can simply pull out of my parking spot, slushy roads that make me apply the brakes twice as far away just so I can stop before stop signs.

It’s about this time that winter starts to get old for people in northwest Iowa.

The other day, it reached 30 degrees in Spirit Lake, and I thought, “Heat wave!”

Now, when did below freezing ever constitute a heat wave? Only at this time of the year when my body is so used to being cold that 30 degrees seems warm.

My mind is sick of even 30-degree weather though. Memories of Sunday evenings spent on the lakes last summer cloud my vision. Thoughts of warm days spent sunbathing make my goosebumps seem even more prominent. Dreams of shorts and halter tops fill my mind.

That’s months away though.

Winter is not so much unlike anything that we have to do day in and day out. During the summer months, I get excited to wear sweaters and cute boots. Washing the dinner dishes every day is a drag. Even watching the same TV show can get boring after a while.

We are built to enjoy special events. I was about to say we are built to enjoy change, but I don’t think many people would agree with that. We do look forward to something different every once in a while though — whether it is staying home after days away or days away after staying home for a long time.

Since spring is still a couple months off, I guess it is important to try to enjoy what weather we have now. I’m sure you’ve already done much of what winter has to offer — drinking hot chocolate, sledding, snowmobiling, ice skating. If you haven’t, I would encourage you to get out and enjoy some winter fun.

If you think you’ve already taken in what winter has to offer and don’t know what else to do, it’s time to start being creative. What can you do now that will pass the time but that you won’t want to do later?

Here are some of my ideas of how to pass the time when I’m bored:

1. Paint your walls, or a birdhouse if you want a smaller project.

2. Crochet a blanket.

3. Write encouragement letters to friends and family.

4. Break out the crayons and coloring books, no matter how old you are.

5. Use a computer program to doctor some photos with interesting effects and type.

6. Write a story or poem to give to someone you love.

7. Bake a treat to bring to work or to send with your kids to school.

8. Play a board game or do a puzzle with the family.

9. Play games online with a family member or friend — Trivial Pursuit is a fun one.

10. Make homemade gifts to stash away for special occasions, that way all you have to do is wrap them when the time comes.

Even if the weather outside is less than perfect, there is plenty of fun to be had in the winter. Just look around and see what you have that hasn’t been utilized in a long time.

And if you find stuff that you aren’t ever going to use again, do a little early spring cleaning and get rid of it. That way, when better weather hits, you won’t have anything keeping you inside.

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