Thursday, January 17, 2013

Necessary Winter Activities

Living in a place where the winters can be bitterly cold requires a certain amount of creativity to get stuff done... at least, it does if you intend to carry on life without going into six months of hibernation. I actually grew up in Winnipeg, where the winters are way colder for way longer than they are where I currently live (read: suck it up, people, it could be worse). That means that I'm used to carrying on with normal activities, even if it's darker and colder than I would like it to be. I'm a great believer in the old adage: There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.

One of those things is walking my dog. In this twenty-first century, first world existence, this dog is not a wolf. He eats square meals. He sleeps indoors with a selection of beds to choose from. He doesn't have to hunt. In short, he's soft. Therefore, he needs to walk, but that's not easy to do when he's lifting his paws every three steps because of the cold pavement freezing his pads. So he wears mittens that I buy him from the dollar store. And since everyone's feet are different, I have to make sure they will stay on. Last weekend, I went through a bunch and adjusted the elastic and velcro on them so that they won't fall off as often as he walks.

They're much better now, even if he's not all that impressed by them.

Another necessary winter activity: knitting and crochet. No big shock there, but this is the time of year to crank out mittens, scarves, cowls and hats. My friend asked me if I could make a hat for her daughter based on a photo she saw, and I obliged since it was so darn cute and I would generally never get to work with bubblegum pink yarn and polka dot ribbon. I discovered that you can make ribbon narrower by folding it over by hand and pressing it down with some regular school-grade glue stick, then you can seal it down by running a warm iron over it with a tea towel in between to protect the print. The things you learn on a dark winter's night...

The most difficult activity for most people in the winter is getting enough exercise, especially when the thermometer goes miles below zero. I'm lucky enough to have a basement with enough space for me to do all the necessary jumping around to get my heart pumping, but I am unfortunate enough to be as sweaty as a racehorse after a moderate amount of physical exertion. A friend suggested a sweatband, and I figured that, if we were going to bring the sweatband back, we'd best do it in style.

This is a Halle Band, which I found on Etsy from this shop. It's ridiculously simple; in fact, when I opened the package, I was almost disappointed by its simplicity. It is a cleverly cut and sewn scrap of fabric, but it stays well in place and holds back the rainfall of sweat that appears from my skull when I am exercising. It's not just vanity that requires me to wear this, but general safety. No one wants to exercise on a wet floor, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I've had a few near-misses during my Jillian Michaels workouts.

And one more necessary winter activity: escape to sunshine! I'm actually sitting at the airport, waiting for the boarding announcement for our flight to Los Angeles. It's become tradition, and I'm glad to be fortunate enough each year to do it. There may be a stop at a yarn store or vintage shop or two. See you in the sunshine!

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