Things About The Dead of Winter

Maybe "they" were thinking of the dormant trees and dead plants and how everything has the blue-gray sheen of a corpse when they coined the phrase "dead of winter", but I think maybe "they" were in touch with the spirit of the season, which is something along the lines of: BLAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.

Don't get me wrong, I like winter. I like snow. I like crisp, cold air and rosy cheeks and staying inside where it's warm. I like the idea of cuddling (I can't remember if I really enjoy it that much or not, because it's been a long time). I like sledding and Christmas and jingle bells and the smell of fresh cut spruce in my house. But once The Holidays come to a screeching halt on January 2nd, and we go back to school and work as if there was never any fun in the world at all, it's easy to forget the happy parts of winter.

Because winter really is about death. It is the dead zone of the natural year. It is the end of one life cycle and the rest before a new one begins. It is being "dead tired" from all of the holiday traditions and SO MUCH FAMILY.  It is the time of "bored to death" cabin fever, "dead broke" after The Holidays and the "death warmed over" look that we're all sporting after we recover from our "deathbed" of seasonal colds and flus. While we're all busy "freezing to death" we are simultaneously commenting on how the weather is "dead wrong" and we're moving to somewhere green and warm and ALIVE. Was it really only a week ago that I was jogging through town in glorious, glistening snowy sunshine, feeling like the world couldn't be more beautiful?

There is very little, in the dead of winter, to remind us that we are alive. Except driving on roadways covered in three inches of freezing rain. Or pellet stoves that decide to quit working in the middle of the night during the coldest week of the season. Or broken pipes, cantankerous hot water heaters, and shoveling snow. Lots and lots and lots of shoveling.

Other than mini-crisis management though, there is nothing in my life during the dead of winter that I can't do later. Some other time, Some other day. When people ask how I am doing, a normally honest response would be "BUSY! SO BUSY!" but right now, I have absolutely no where to be, and absolutely nothing I have to do. The laundry will be there tomorrow, staring at me all. day. long. So will the dirty bathroom. And a myriad of other little projects that I could take on. But I can do it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or next week. Heck, I don't have any plans until March.

With all of this time on my hands, I have been cooking. I have cooked all of the things. A Full Turkey Dinner with All of the Trimmings. Bulk quantities of shredded southwest chicken breast, black beans, chicken tortilla soup and all of the ingredients for cobb salads, and rice bowls. Exactly 83% of this food will go to waste, even though I took a quart of soup to Neighbor Joe and sent Turkey Dinner to my rehabilitating bestie and her family. There are not enough of us to eat the food that I make in my boredom. I had 5 overripe bananas today that I put in the freezer instead of making into banana bread because I knew it would sit on the counter and mold, like the three oranges, one apple and two onions I just threw away.

So many good intentions swirling around, but kind of like with my intentions to exercise and stuff, I am struggling to find the WHY. Why do I cook? Why do I work out? I am making no difference. Nobody eats the food. Nobody will really care if I lose ten more pounds, or thirty. I am doing just as much good watching 13 episodes straight of Orphan Black, and letting the girls have the macaroni they've been begging for. Why am I fighting it? Seriously. It's the Dead of Winter. The only thing that makes it better is comfort food like BLTs and Macaroni and Cheese and BEER.

There's the trouble right there. I don't have enough beer in my life. Since I started counting calories and all that crap, I have cut way back on my beer consumption, along with other things (like macaroni and cheese) that make life worth living. Is it any wonder that my existence has lost meaning? :) I think that some re-ordering of my priorities might be in order.

Maybe tomorrow I will wake up and it will all make sense - I will feel motivation and purpose again. Maybe I will remember why I want to be in shape, and eat healthy. Maybe I will put on my work out pants and they won't just be an accessory for maximum couch enjoyment. Maybe I will have a beer. Maybe I will remember that it's not just me, it's the Dead of Winter.

Things About Girls

It's not all sweetness and light.

It's not all sugar and spice and everything nice.

It's not all sparkling golden laughter and twinkling eyes and caring, warm hearts.

It's rodent sized hairballs in your shower drain every six months or so, because when you have girls, girls have hair. And they also have friends, and their friends have friends, and also cousins, lots of girl cousins. And all of the girls and their friends and their friends friends and girl cousins all somehow find a reason to use your shower, and put their long, glorious hair in your shower drain, until pretty much you have DNA samples from every female in Stevens County. Possibly Washington State. And probably much, much, much more scientific data than anyone in an Average American Household ever wanted to collect out of their drain.

It's also slamming doors and theatrical sighs and eye-rolling that just. won't. quit. It's year after year after year of "whatever"s and "seriously?"s and "ohmygosh"s, in addition to the everything in the world being "annoying", "not my fault" and "not fair".

It's glitter craft projects adorning every carpet and finger nail polish accents on every piece of furniture.

It's a fist sized hole that mysteriously appears in a wall, and the occasional plate glass window shattered by an imaginary javelin.

It's a thousand articles of clothing whom No One owns, and nothing to wear, ever. At all.

It's going to All Of The Games and All Of The Practices and buy All Of The Gear of All Of The Sports and All Of The Hobbies until you find the exact one that is "the favorite", and then it's doubling it up, because this is surely their destiny: to be professional tuba players/basketball stars/volleyball champions/irish dance professionals.

It's pony tail holders on the floor in every room, bobbi pins on every surface, and a hair brush and random intervals throughout the living spaces.

It's moody singer-songwriter tunes, angry rap and the inescapable Disney Artists from every generation, including the most unfortunate and most recent ones.

It's pictures of puppies, romantic poems and angry hate-notes of vengeance and tattle-taleing.

It's three thousand pairs of shoes that are totally inappropriate for any given event, and probably don't fit right anymore.

It's purple and pink and orange and CAMOUFLAGE and a rainbow of changing moods and favorites.

It's marathons of Glee and The Flash and Mario Cart, and crushes on Every. Single. Boy.

It's day after day, year after year, watching a herd of little women turn into fierce individuals with places to go and people to be.

It's a girl thing. 

Things About Roller Skating

Natalee is turning 16 tomorrow. Sixteen. Sweet 16. A top-end teenager. Which means I only have one young kid left. The rest are all old.

For her 16th birthday party, we went roller skating. We took a good percentage of her class from school, along with some relatives and friends from other grades, for a sum total of 19 people, to the roller rink in Spokane, where we skated our collective buns off.

That's right, WE skated. WE including (but not limited to) me, myself and I. I skated THE WHOLE TIME. All three hours I skated. I swooped and circled, I chicken danced and limboed and even tried to do the cupid shuffle on roller skates, which is a terrible idea if I ever heard one. Especially when he says "freeze!" and all you can do is fall on your face on top of several small children who were in front of you and apparently know how to stop instantly on 8 rolling wheels of plastic. I was just happy during one sequence when I got a "hop" and a "right stomp" in appropriately. My left stomps always turned into a weird rolling recovery sequence of waving my arms foolishly in the air for several minutes. Turns out I am NOT an ambi-stomper on roller skates.

My ankles hurt within about 45 seconds of roller skating, which is important to note since my sister with the perpetually broken ankle and detached tendons, etc, etc, etc, skated THE WHOLE TIME too. She probably isn't speaking to me or anyone this morning, if she is still alive. I almost wasn't alive. If hips were capable of murder, mine would have killed me in my sleep. Instead, they collaborated with my lower back to exact harsh punishment on me today.

I am not sure which was more fun, watching the adults (i.e. me) flailing around like wanton scarecrows, or getting to witness my three nephews on roller skates for the first time ever in their whole lives. It was pretty much a perpetual dogpile with wheels on top. Roller skating is a sport where no one can actually take themselves seriously, which might make it my most favorite sport ever. Check your ego at the door, y'all. Even you - that middle aged couple doing constant couples skate routines - I see your potential for imminent disaster behind those clever hand movement that mask your instability, you don't fool me. Admittedly, I thought I was pretty cool at 11 years old when I won an Amy Grant record doing the Hokey Pokey at homeschool skate night. Far cooler than my sister who won Sandy Patti doing the limbo. Even homeschoolers don't like Sandi Pattie. For heavens sake. Did they think it was grandmother skate night?

The best part about it was that my Fitbit app says that three hours of roller skating burns approximately 1288 calories. One thousand two hundred and eighty eight calories. Twelve hundred and 88 calories. That's so many. I could have had two pieces of cake if I wanted. Why does running, which feels like torture, burn like 5 calories an hour, but roller skating burns over 400? Roller skating is FUN you guys! If it wasn't, I would have quit like 37 minutes in. But it's super fun! I would go every day if I could, and after awhile, I would beat Em at the limbo, win the races AND probably defeat my ex husband in a professional couples skate dancing competition (more on this, contact Josh Weston). Not to mention ROLLER DERBY!!!!

I drove home alternately whimpering in pain and plotting how to get a grant to build a roller rink in Northport. I am sure that somebody is dying to give away a couple hundred thousand to get kids and housewives off of the streets and onto 8 wheels.

Addendum: A friend of mine posted this on Facebook about the same time I posted this blog, it seems appropriate...

"That thing you want to do that makes no sense on paper that everyone says is ridiculous? Go ahead. Because I tap danced while wearing roller skates. So there." - Gene Kelly

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