Winter Inspiration for Fun

A few weeks ago—before our deep freeze– we had the PERFECT Illinois winter snowy day. That day I cross country skied and shot the pictures I posted on this blog a couple weeks ago. My 16 year old son Ronan and his friends sledded all that afternoon.  I was secretly smiling that the boys adventures . Are you ever too old to sled?

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My 3 kids so long ago, with one of our Aussie, playing in the snow

“There were a lot of kids there. I feel like the parents were looking at all of us weird, since we were older,” Ronan said when he got home, after he said how much fun they had. And how tired they were.

“No way,” I replied. “I remember when we used to take all of you sledding when you were younger.

“ I would watch all the older kids on the hills, playing, having fun. I was so glad that they were having a blast outside, rather than watching TV or playing video games. That they still let themselves be kids.”

So, one simple idea for me this year is to find time to have more fun. Step away from the screens and daily responsibilities, just to let loose and laugh.

C

First Snowfall Photos

 

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A world in white 

The gorgeous snowfall yesterday–all day long, with thankfully no where to go–inspired me to take a few photos and change up today’s post.

Abstracts and landscapes, the changing weather gives so many possibilities to create. Enjoy.

 

I love this secret spot…..

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A hidden world

C

All photos copyrighted by Cindy Cardinal Kennedy

Into the Storm

Flakes flutter in the evening sky

ones, tens,

then quickly thousands, millions, uncountable

swirling, spinning

wipers useless

non existent

then tendrils of snow

snake across the highway

rippling waves

dancing

mezmorising as they rise up

to meet those in flight

blinding us.

Hiding barely in sight

the black F150 truck

we have been following for miles,

all driving so thoughtfully

attentive.

Suddenly, the truck

vanishes

as we are caught in the vortex-

attack of the seemingly innocent snowflakes

whiteout.

Alone, on the highway. So briefly.

 

 

Inspiration for this poem was a quickly moving snowstorm we drove through from Indianapolis to Chicago suburbs.  Video of this approaching storm (taken my my daughter Devon not me, driving) when it didn’t look like a blizzard yet is online–I loved the snow snaking across the highway.

We estimate we saw 20+ accidents involving 50+ cars during this drive. Even called 911 for one car.  It was beautiful but extremely dangerous driving.

17 Ways to Cheaply Escape the February Rut

Mid-winter in the midwest. Humdrum. I am ready for a few changes at the start of the second month of the new year.

We get so caught up in our daily schedules, they become rote and we exist instead of live. How can we make small changes to improve our curiosity and mood, separate the hours, the days? Here is a starter list I created of simple, no cost or inexpensive ways we can entice more enthusiasm out of the lengthening but still cold, grey days:

  1. Drive a different route to your every day destinations.
  2. Move furniture in your house, either around one room or swap furniture from one room to another. Or buy a few new pillows, swap out your artwork or photos on display.
  3. Paint a neutral wall/room an inviting color.
  4. Cook one new recipe each week for a month.
  5. Start a jigsaw or crossword puzzle. Color.
  6. Try a new class at the gym or online exercise video.
  7. If you can, change up where you work. A different office, library, coffee shop.
  8. Clean out your closet. Donate unworn items to charity.
  9. After completing #8, find new combinations of your existing clothes to wear.
  10. Order something new at a coffee shop or restaurant.
  11. Invite over an eclectic group of friends for an evening of fun. Ask them to bring a board game, appetizer, or bottle of wine to share.
  12. Go to the movies during daylight hours. Eat popcorn for lunch or dinner, preferably with M&M’s© mixed in.
  13. Read a book from a new genre for you, free from your local library or neighbors.
  14. Dance or sing out loud! (alone or with your kids or friends, no judgement allowed)
  15. Walk or bike outside somewhere new, on a clear day. Forest preserve, a beach, a neighborhood not your own.
  16. Smile and say hi to a stranger. Better yet, start a conversation with them.
  17. Visit a local town center or city you don’t really know. Chicago has lots of free museum days in February, if you live nearby. Combine with #10 above to learn it’s flavor, literally.

Get out of the winter rut I know many of my friends and I are experiencing. Just pick one item on this list and do it! Feel free to comment with other ideas you think would be fun to try.

C

Never Hide from the Shadows

I feel like the groundhog who saw his shadow last week.  But, instead of six more weeks of winter, I have five more weeks of only walking.  Bummer—I was expecting that the six week post-op appointment I would be released to do some heavier cardio like the elliptical or exercise bike.  But no, to avoid relapse I am to hold to my walking for another five weeks.  That, plus the upper body work out I created using the whopping 3-lb. weights and stretch band.

Is it a dirty secret that I LIKE to exercise?  I feel restless, bored, stress buildup, physically tight (and let’s face it, we ALL get fatter if we don’t move—that is NO secret) when I sit still too long.  So, this news depressed me for about a day.  I want to really sweat.  I want to get ready for my spring break beach trip!

But, as I walked the treadmill the next day—too icy to be outside, for risk of slipping—I realized those were selfish thoughts.  I vowed to banish them from my mind.  At least I CAN walk.  There are so many people unable to walk, others who choose to remain sedentary. To the latter, I ask why?

I realized that I have been actually eating better since restricted to walking, trying to  avoid gaining weight during my twelve week respite. I have really paid attention to what I am eating throughout the day, without the heavy exercising option.  I have planned healthier meals, snacked less, indulged in fewer sweets, and managed to even lose a couple pounds while walking around my neighborhood and on the treadmill.

So if you have to modify your routine,  break your step, let yourself wallow a moment, but don’t let that stop you.  Slow down a pace and think:  How can I change it up?  Improve what I can do?  Increase my knowledge about myself?  Stay happy?

Then surpass myself?

Six more weeks of winter?  Throw a snowball and smile, even if you can’t strap on those those beloved cross country skis, don’t hibernate.  What’s the fun in that?  C

 

Snow Stories

So many pictures are open for interpretation.  The captions are mine, on some photos I took today. Look for mystery up, down.  You never know that you will see! C

Just blown snow? Or white frog legs? Dead rabbit?

 

 

Snowflakes, frozen in time.
Chicago winter palm trees? (really grasses from my yard)
Yes, I have a dog track in my yard! Lots of racing, no animals ever hurt here:)

Spring Tease

We who live in the land of all-four-seasons have one day we look forward to all winter–the first day the air hints of spring, the sky egg shell blue, warming winds drying the winter-brown grass.  You can’t appreciate this day in the tropics, the dessert, the southwest.

On that day–today—we pull out our bikes and golf clubs and wash the car and walk the neighborhood and roller blade, anything, anything to soak up that smiling sun.  My kids pull out their capri pants and flip flops–who cares if it’s only in the low 50’s when they leave for school–because we are so tired of the same shirts and jeans and boots and gloves.

Birds abound, swarming the bird feeder and twittering away, the dogs lie on the porch and keep guard, the cat gets up from its lazy spot in the sunny window, stretches, and strolls to another.  (Do they do much more?)

Unless you spend the winter in freezing temperatures, snow days, icy roads, gray skies, you cannot truly enjoy the first day of springlike weather. Surely to be followed by another just-above -freezing day. But we can savor it until the next one, impatiently waiting for the next one to break through. C