Winter, enough.

I am sitting here on the couch with the headphones on because the basketball game is on and I can’t really write with that blithering in my head.

I am in my 2nd day of no coffee and I think my eyes are getting worse, not better. I know 2 days isn’t much, but I wanted to see at least a little improvement. (I am so dull without the charge of coffee. It makes me sad.)

So far I have been able to keep pretty optimistic with this endless winter, but today I couldn’t pull it off. It was cold and dreary when I got up, and as the morning progressed, the day got darker rather than lighter, and as I was getting ready to go to the gym, I heard thunder. And then it started to rain. Hard.

I can see the window reflected in the bathroom mirror. I could see the gloom and the rain, and then I refocused on my face, and my red puffy right eyelid, and the beginning of the same situation on my left eyelid.

(2 days without coffee, alcohol and sugar. Things should be better.)

The end of March.

(Things should be better than this).

I wanted nothing more than to sit in my pajamas and read and sleep all day. But I got myself to the gym, and did what I was told, and left the gym and went home and washed my hands and had some food, and got to my 1 o’clock appointment.

(All this is very dull.)

And then I went to yoga, and class was good, but all I could think of was going home, getting into my pajamas and sitting here even though I had no idea what the theme of the day should be.

I hate to complain. I hate to hear people complaining. Yet all I want to do is give in to my sadness about the weather and complain.

I have been trying so hard all winter to go with the flow, to control the controllables and accept what is out of my control. But today I just couldn’t. I actively hated the weather.

I miss sun so much. And warmth.

(My client walked in all sun tanned from a month in Florida.)

All I need is sun. To lay in. To bask in. And then I will be fine.

All I need is sun to be happy. It is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, though.

This is why when it gets to be fall, and everyone is all rhapsodic about the leaves and how beautiful they are, all I can think about is that this day is coming, this day of unendurable cold and wet and miserable after a winter of stabbing cold.

But we do endure, don’t we?

I hope you are in a place of sun and color. I hope I will soon be in that place, too.

Namaste.

The Top 10 Reasons I Am Grateful It Is Still Winter in March

The robins are back. The redwing blackbirds returned today. But there is still snow on the ground, and I am still wearing my down coat, and down gloves, and a wool hat.  The temps are not going above 40 degrees for the foreseeable future. The lake is still frozen.

Everyone is talking about it. Everyone is complaining and calling it the “unendurable winter.” Since we don’t live in Florida, we are allowed to say “climate change” and a lot of people are saying it.

So I decided to try to come up with 10 Reasons to be happy that it still winter. I enlisted G in this game, and here is our list.

1. We are saving a lot of money on sunscreen.

2. We can stay in the hot tub all night and not get “too hot.”

3. We have no guilt in indulging in Netflix marathons of “House of Cards.”

4. There is no hurry to go into storage and drag out the capris and the t-shirts and put away the sweaters.

5. Neither of us have finished our winter books, so we can sit by the fire and read without the pressure of feeling we should be doing something outside.

6. We both hate taking the cover off the AC unit and there is no reason to do that.

7.  Shoveling is great functional exercise.

8. Everyone knows you burn more calories shivering than sweating.

9. There are no mosquitos or  bugs.

10. We don’t have to worry yet about exposing our less-than-ready swim suit bodies.

What else can you think of?

Add in the comments. I’d love to hear!

How I am surviving this hellish winter

This has been a very long winter. But surprisingly, I am okay. I am not great, but I am fine. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being overjoyed and 1 being suicidal, I have maintained a solid 7 all winter.

This is huge. (This is weird.)

This is what has helped.

Vitamin D3. 5000 iu

Royal Glow Facial Moisturizer

Strength training w/Vince

Kitchari

Yorkholo pizza on Mondays

Yoga (teaching)

Yoga (doing)

Meditation

Writing my book, “Amp Your Vibe”

Introducing people to the exercises in my book

FaceTiming with my daughter and my grandson, Obie (obielouis on Instagram)

Sleep

Good books, like: Daring Greatly, The Art of Asking, Distraction Addiction, What To Do When It’s Your Turn, Make Your Own Rules Diet, The Compound Effect, Rise of the Machines, Eat, Taste, Heal, The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up

My space heater

Time spent up in my cozy lair in my space chair (with the space heater running)

I appreciate the interiority of winter to an extent, but it has overstayed its welcome. Not only that, it has often been an icy blowhard, hurtful, rude and and disrespectful.

Trouble is, I can’t kick it out. I have to wait until it decides to leave.

*sigh*

Survival Concerns

I started this day reading Oliver Sack’s moving piece about his terminal cancer diagnosis.

This part:

“Over the last few days, I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape, and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life.

On the contrary, I feel intensely alive, and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.”

While still reflecting deeply on this, I gulped the last of my coffee and headed out to the gym in 9 degree weather to workout with my personal trainer, who said he woke up imagining hearing people eulogize him. He is thirty-something. Death, for him, is still an interesting daydream.

After an intense session of squats and pull-ups and other exercises, I dashed to the studio for a session with my private client who is doubling-down on his yoga this month to get in shape for a golf trip to the south in 2 weeks.

While he was doing hamstring stretches with a strap, I read him Sack’s piece. This led to us sitting on the wood floor, under the skylight in the yoga room, talking about death, what it means to live, and what it means to be happy.

There was no yoga today.

Afterwards, I stopped at the bank’s drive-thru window,  made a deposit, and then headed home to make a crock-pot lasagna, and walk Boomer in the painful cold.

When it is as cold as it has been for as long as it has been and there is no relief in the scrollable future on my weather app, I start to feel afraid. Not for me, but for animals and birds, and all things that live outside. As I was refilling the bird feeders, I noticed little paw prints under the porch.

Last spring we found a dead cat curled under our dryer vent.

Oliver Sack’s generation is going over the cliff. To be followed by the next generation and then mine, and then the next and the next and eventually, even my handsome personal trainer’s.

We are all going over the cliff sometime. So now is the time, as Sack’s says, to live with audacity, clarity and plain speaking.

Tonight, it is predicted to be 38 degrees below zero with the wind chills. This is the season of survival concerns. Let us all find warmth wherever we can and remember that there will be spring..

17 Things I Need To Be Happy

Today I hate winter.

Wallace Stevens has this poem called The Snowman that starts with,

“One must have a mind of winter…”

And that line invaded my consciousness as I stared at the kitchen thermometer that read minus something.

(As soon as there is a minus sign, all possibility for happiness is gone, so it doesn’t much matter what number you put after that minus sign.)

I was thinking, Wallace Stevens notwithstanding, that I definitely don’t have a mind of winter.  I have a mind of summer. I have a mind of wisteria, and viburnums, and lawn mowers. I have a mind of ice cream.

I have no patience with stupid snowmen standing stoically regarding junipers shagged with ice.

Fuck snowmen. Fuck ice.

So today I will focus on things that make me happy. (Note the glaring absence of snowmen.)

Happiness Makers

Enough sleep (9 hours, preferably.)

High quality food, and a nearby market to buy it.

To sweat and detox daily.

Yoga. Every. Single. Day

20 minutes of Meditation. Every. Single. Day

Regular fun and play.

Order in my surroundings.

A clean kitchen.

Sun.

Warmth.

A Hot bath. With bubbles.

Wine (in moderation)

Inspiring people in my immediate surroundings. Real people. Not online “friends.”

Beautiful, natural surroundings to live in

One cup of extraordinary, extra bold coffee every morning.

A big, warm, soft bed to sleep in. Alone.

Somebody to speak my soul to, to share my neuroses with, and to tell me (even if it’s not true) that I’m not nuts. Every. Single. Day.

Not “Needed” but Nice

2 ply toilet paper

**Namaste**

ski tracks