by Maria Schulz
Now that the holidays are over, my decorations have all been taken down and everything that made my house look bright and festive has been put away. As a result, my house looks barren, and January feels dull and gray.
Combine that with the fact that “Winter Storm Hercules” just swept through (we had snow) and the Polar Vortex came roaring in. So what’s the Polar Vortex? Apparently it’s a weather pattern that includes vicious winds from the North Pole, or possibly the far side of the moon.
Let me ‘splain it to you: it’s not just cold, it’s REALLY REALLY REALLY COLD, which makes going outside as much fun as taking a leisurely stroll through Siberia.
It was so cold (insert: HOW COLD WAS IT?) that while walking my dog yesterday, I thought my eyeballs would freeze. My body hurt in places I didn’t even realize existed.
So, since outdoor activities are out for the time being, I’ve decided to try some new things to get out of my “leave the house for work. Stay indoors all day. Go home and do the same” rut. Here’s what I thought might be fun:
New Things I Could Try to Perk up Winter Days
1. Skiing. I have never skied before, and I’m not sure if this is a good option. Why? Because I am a klutz by nature and have no desire to smash into trees or fall off the side of a mountain. Still given the fact that it’s less hospitable here than Luke Skywalker’s native planet, Tatooine (I’m not a complete loser; I had to look that name up), it seems like a good option.
2. Arctic Voyages. Hmmmm….not so sure this is a good idea. I mean, sure seeing the polar ice caps must be awe-inspiring, beautiful, and majestic, but I’m thinking that I could get stuck there.
That’s not really my idea of fun. I can understand going there because you have to (you’re in the military and they force you to go there) but tourism? Really? I think I’d rather take a cruise to Aruba. The goal is WARMTH, people.
3. World Record Holder: I’ve often thought of breaking the same world record that Cindy and Bobby set wayyyy back when they sat on their see-saw and, with the help of Mom, Dad, Alice and their siblings, they see-sawed away until they were both literally falling down with exhaustion.
My biggest problems are: I don’t own a see-saw; the one in the local park is covered in snow; and no one will see-saw with me. However, I can probably try to break the world record for person who has the biggest nervous breakdown in the history of mankind when the next snow storm comes barreling through and I have to go shovel.
4. Reenacting Jack Nicholson’s role in The Shining: because all work and no outdoor play makes Maria a sad girl.
5. Break out the Knitting Jenny: remember this toy? I had one when I was in the 5th grade. My earliest hopes of making a perky hat or a jaunty scarf were shot out of the water very early on as I struggled to make this loom work for me. It took me approximately the length of an eon to get enough yarn together before I had something that resembled a blanket and/or possibly a dish rag. My brothers must have been sick of watching me struggle with it that winter, because one day when I came home from school, the yarn was pulled off the loom and my hat/scarf dreams were dashed forever. I think now would be a good time to revive them.
6. Roller Skating lessons. Just as I was about to give up all hopes of ever doing anything fun this winter, I got this email from a popular roller rink.
Here are some of the reasons I think that taking up roller skating might not be the best idea for me.
- I bruise easily
- I am not 6 years old
- I fall down a lot, and that’s when I’m not even wearing wheels
- Gravity has never been a good friend of mine
- People who know how to skate enjoy making people that can’t skate fall down
- Winter is supposed to be the time you sit in your house and drink tons of hot chocolate
- I go into hibernation from October until May (no, wait…that’s a bear)
Technically, roller skating is not new for me. I spent the greater part of my childhood zipping around town on a pair of trusty skates, with the skate key on a string around my neck.
I loved roller skating. I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair as I soared down our long hill and the sound of life and laughter rushing in my ears. In those moments, everything felt intensely, vividly, alive.
That rush quickly faded, however, when I couldn’t stop myself and I crashed into the nearest lamppost or tree. I would be sailing along when I realized that the stationery object suddenly looming large in my sights had no intention of getting out of my way, and I had no way of getting out of its way…and BOOM! My mother was soon standing beside me with a washrag, some bandages, and enough mercurochrome to treat a wounded regiment.
Cold weather never stopped our skating rituals. My brothers and I would just wear more layers and head outside to skate for hours. I’d meet up with my friend, Marianne, and we’d skate everywhere. Then, when we were done, we’d head inside to bake chocolate chip cookies and drink gallons of hot chocolate.
As I got a little bit older, I abandoned my skates as something that only little kids did. I’m not sure why, but my bike became my one and only means of transportation. So on really, really cold days, I’d bundle up in my parka and more layers than the Michelin Man, and off I’d go in search of winter adventures.
Years passed. I’d almost completely forgotten about my love for roller skating when a boy I liked in high school invited me to join a group of friends at Laces, the local rink, one Friday night.
“Do you know how to skate?” he asked me when I got there.
“Me? Oh, not really,” I said, following the advice of a friend who told me to let him feel like the big guy by holding his hand as we rolled around the rink.
So, we inched our way around the rink, holding hands and talking. I thought my friend who gave me the advice was very wise, because this boy seemed very concerned that poor little old me would get knocked over and hurt.
However, as we skated around the rink, there was one boy from another group who kept slamming into me as to try to knock me down. My friend would grab my hand and keep me upright, and the other boy would skate away, laughing. This happened three times before I’d had enough.
“Excuse me,” I said, as I tore off through the crowd and body slammed the other kid to the ground.
I skated back to the boy I liked, and he looked amazed. “I thought you didn’t know how to skate?” he said.
I shrugged. “I’ve been skating for years. I just was out of practice,” I replied.
It was then that I realized that dating games were just not for me. I could out skate this boy I liked; why should I act as though I couldn’t?
I continued to go to Laces, our local roller skating rink, every Friday night for the rest of the 9th and 10th grades. But then, just like when I was a younger kid, roller skating became something that was too babyish for me.
So…flash forward several decades. Suddenly, it’s freezing outside and I’m bored out of my mind. I’ve watched every TV marathon, seen tons of movies, and feel like I need to exercise before I turn into a giant weeble. I wouldn’t mind doing something “babyish” if it means I’ll have a little fun, especially because this Winter just started and it already seems too long.
While I seriously doubt that anyone is going to want to join me for roller skating lessons, I might just do it. Either that, or I’ll just go back into my cave and drink hot chocolate until May.
Sounds like a plan.
So many hot chocolate recipes, so little time…unless you plan to drink one every day until May (which is what I’ll probably do).
So, Hungry Lifers…what are you doing to keep busy this Winter? Are you sick of talking about the cold? What’s your favorite hot drink? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!