Why I Love January in New England

So, it’s really cold again. It’s been cold before. It will, in all likelihood, be cold again.

JUST GET OVER IT.

I love winter; always have, always will.  I love the beginning of winter, when the holidays loom (food, drink, lights, and music to make us weep), but I especially love the true, deep winter that follows the new year.

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While the days leading up to the new year are short and dark, by this time, late January, you can feel the light creeping back into the world, stealthy-like.  Th spring-tease thaw has come and gone, and left ice-slicks in its wake.  The creatures that hid away in the solstice darkness have re-emerged, hungry and fearless–foxes and turkeys and white-tailed deer.  They eat my holly bushes and shit on my roof, but it’s all ok: we’re in this winter thing together.

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My love of winter has something to do with my love of winter sports (skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, oh my!), and also, no doubt, by my life circumstances: my daily existence does not necessitate braving snow-sloshed city streets, or navigating wet-n-wild subway cars in my office heels.  I am free to languish with my tea by the fire in the morning, and (especially lately) leave the house only to frequent a cosy library nook, or a well-lit produce aisle.

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If I am honest, I will admit that my love of winter is about hibernation, and also about the anticipation of spring.  When the frost is on the pane, it’s easier to justify napping on the couch, rereading old books, and baking cookies.

But when I put Charlie down for her nap each afternoon, I tell her little stories about all the veggies we’ll grow this spring, and the ponds we’ll swim in this summer, and the places we’ll go.  Oh, the places we’ll go.

For now, however, it’s nice to just stay here, by the fire.

Jump Start Your Creativity

Here’s a fun post from one of the blogs I frequent about jumpstarting creativity in these cold winter months. I definitely need some help these days…

Live to Write - Write to Live

January has been a slog. My #JanNoWriStart began with gusto, but has petered out towards the end of the month. Rebooting this weekend on daily word count goals. But it is more than that. The simplest tasks take five extra steps. Layers of clothing weigh my steps down. My hair is flat, my mascara runs, and my knees ache. My attention span is limited (mildly put), and I have yet to finish a knitting project or book in this new year. I can cope with all of this, but this is the time of year when winter feels interminable.

So I indulge in creativity boosters. As I suspect I am not alone in singing the winter blues, I thought I would share some resources that help me.

1. The BBC Front Row Daily Podcast. Interviews with writers, actors, artists, directors, musicians and more. Part entertaining, part informational, all terribly…

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Children’s Music to Love: Elizabeth Mitchell

We discovered Elizabeth Mitchell the way many modern parents must discover new children’s music: through a Pandora station.  Since first hearing her folk-meets-children style online, I’ve purchased her popular and award-winning You Are My Little Bird, as well as my favorite, Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie.   Continue reading Children’s Music to Love: Elizabeth Mitchell

Art / Fate / Life / Death: Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch”

The Goldfinch

So, you’ve decided to read The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt.

The scene opens on a young man languishing, feverish, in a hotel room in Amsterdam, pacing and frantic and desperate for escape from tragedy of his own creation: a tragedy we know, somehow viscerally, must involve orphans, Las Vegas, pills, unrequited love, Russian mobsters, murder, and international art theft.  To understand the relevant details of the drama, we are told by our narrator that we must go back to a tragic spring day, 14 years earlier… Continue reading Art / Fate / Life / Death: Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch”

“Toward a More Expansive Definition of ‘Princess'”

“Toward a More Expansive Definition of ‘Princess'”

My childhood best friend gave my 19-month-old daughter (read = me) the first two of Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest chronicles for Christmas.  My friend and I read these books together when we were 9 or 10, and we loved every minute of them then.  What we didn’t know was that we were also adding some significant building blocks to our feminist sensibilities in the process.  The above article, published last May in The Atlantic, is both entertaining and thought-provoking.   And, since I’m now re-reading the entire series, in honor of little girls everywhere and the fantastically-low temps outside our windows, I thought I’d share.

Just adding to the princess debate, y’all.

Children’s Music To Love: Caspar Babypants

Friends have long been on my case about posting some of our favorite music for kids, so here is the start of what I hope will be a long and informative series.

Caspar Babypants, aka Chris Ballew, is a member of the alt-rock group The Presidents of the United States of America (they have a new album due out this February, so are officially not defunct).  In the middle of a successful rock career, Ballew had kids, and released his first Caspar album, Here I Am! in 2009. Continue reading Children’s Music To Love: Caspar Babypants

deliberate living