five on friday: mid-winter survival edition

I think it's time to revive Five on Friday posts. Pick a topic and find five things to say about it! How hard can that be? Today my topic is "mid-winter survival" because the fact is, at this point we're all just kind of hanging on by a thread, waiting for the snow to melt, the thermometer to be above zero in the morning and the rate of tissue consumption to dip below two boxes per week. Our winter hasn't been as brutal here as in Boston, but we've had snow and plenty of frigid temps. Here's how we get through the winter up north:

  1. Gripe. This just in: complaining is good for your health!! Now I can bitch about whatever I want and magically have more antioxidants in my system, right? Or something. Anyway, complain to your spouse or your journal or your twitter feed or your pillow, and revel in the negativity. It might do you some good.
  2. Hot chocolate. I mean, why not? It was -20 windchill when Stuart walked the kids to school yesterday (I had to get to work early) and not a whole lot better when I picked them up. Today was only a slight improvement and the wind was whipping so fiercely that whatever the thermometer said didn't really matter. It was so miserable walking home from school I thought my whole face might slide off in a sheet of ice. Knowing we could make hot chocolate when we got home made it just this side of bearable. Here's how you do it the fancy way: on the stove over med-low heat, melt 2oz bitter chocolate in 1/3 cup water, then add a tiny pinch of salt, 1.5T sugar and 1.5 cups of milk. Whisk until it's all hot enough to drink and pour into mugs. 
  3. Work. I'm working more now than I have since I was a grad student. It's been a challenge in terms of time management (sick days get complicated now that I have more obligations outside the house) but it feels good to have some structure to my week and gigs to get to. I have actually turned a few things down, which is good in a weird way. I think my next steps are to update my professional website, re-evaluate my hourly rate (I haven't given myself a raise in more than 6 years) and start thinking about longer term goals. For as much as I'm working, I should be making more money.
  4. Exercise. If I keep moving, it helps me get out of my own head. I go running and commute by bike when possible, even in winter. My patience has been tested of late, with subzero temperatures (I don't bike when it's below 10 in real temp or below zero windchill), slick roads and lots of flat tires. Even so, I've managed to find at least a couple days a week to bike to work or go for a run, just enough to keep me from going stir-crazy. One particularly miserable morning earlier this week, as my fingers went numb and I was breathing into a frosty balaclava I did consider joining a gym, but by this point it's almost March. I think I can hold out.
  5. Knitting. Not only is this a way to keep my hands busy in the evening after the kids are asleep, but if I knit long enough, I eventually end up with more warm things to wear outside in the cold. Win-win!
How about you? How do you get through winter where you live?


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