Winter as a Habit.


Yesterday Joe and I experienced a spring-like day after a very cold and gray two-plus months. Even the other sunny days had been cold and windy, but this day was pretty spot-on perfect for the ideal spring like weather. We both knew it was just a peak at what is to come at the end of the very dark tunnel of February. In the last days of January, we were not to be dumped into believing that winter was over, but we were welcoming in what sunshine and fresh air and treat of eventual promise we could get. We grabbed our bikes, after a small repair on mine, we took off for a really good ride. Now…we may not be in snow-filled Iowa where a friend of mine rides but the winter of the south has been cold none-the-less and with the streets still slick enough even if just from rain (and some ice) puts our bikes out of commission unless we change up tires. (Something I have no desire to do) but the cold and face-biting wind that stings your face and eye’s unless you are bundled beyond the ability to control your bodies heat is enough to put us out even on dry streets. Swinging down a hill especially bites right through even the warmest biking pants I could find-doubled up. My toes were cold even with the tricks of cyclists tried out. So…not too much riding has happened lately and yesterday the two of us took the opportunity to hit the roads, feel the breeze, and catch up on a little sunshine.

Aside from the fact that I struggled so hard at the start, I didn’t feel a bit of pain and only gained endurance as I went. Today my ass hurts a little bit, though, even sitting down on stuffed furniture was a reminder that I rode yesterday after some time not riding.

We later took the pup for a long hike and while doing so we were able to actually hold some conversation (aside from the grilled cheese and milk shake splitting we did on our bike ride), and I observed that I was glad we had gotten out and not allowed the cold winter to take us down in habit. Keeping us bundled inside our warm and comfortable home in pjs for the day or espying even to activities such as museums or bookstores, usually reserved for the hottest escape of summer or lately the coldest dreary of winter. We switched our plans around and played flexible and did not succumb to what can become habit. Hugging is good and and all, but the good sun filled even almost warm days should not be forgotten and allowed to pass by because winter has become habit.

It is easier to create bad habits and allow what is a good habit to overflow to bad even than to snap out of the regular- the habit- and take advantage of the chances we get.

Staying healthy through winter (as any other time) becomes an important virulent watch. This year it seems perhaps more than others.

I have only had one flu in my life, a few years or so ago (2013) when I worked for a business which had me in contact with a lot of people and things touched from them (packages) and ended up in the emergency room with H1-N1 virus to boot.

At 36 years old, I’ve not had any others and I never want to experience that again.

To keep Joe and I healthy, I send him off to work (away on a boat for a month at a time) with a package of fish oil, glucosamine (lovely, age, isn’t it?), a jar of my spice mix of cayenne/turmeric/cinnamon, and I am sure on the boat that he understands the importance of garlic, broth, and cayenne every day, of which is supplied well. Along with local honey, tea, lemon, and cinnamon as well. And of course warm socks and whatever can keep him the driest at work…hard to do when working on the river in winter in driving rain at times and the river water doesn’t do well for not breeding infection…one little cut never seems to heel out there where the salt water of Joe’s true heart seems to heal all things.

At home I have been plying us with at least a mug a day of a mixture of loose leaf tea’s/honey/lemon/cinnamon/fresh thyme all steamed together and a bit of mint to boot. Another mug of my home made broth/cayenne/ and heavy on the garlic poured over an extra clove. And garlic in much of what I cook or even some roasted cloves on the side (I love love love them).

On top of scrubbing hands often, especially after going out anywhere in public (I don’t do anti-bacterial anything) and a lot a lot of water.

Plus I go on my little house cleaning frenzies.

But aside from the things spoken of above, sunshine, fresh air, exercise and opening the lungs is a really important part of good health as well. Even the cold stay in days still have us hiking/walking with the pup as he doesn’t really allow us to spend a day never stepping foot out. And a good sunshine bike ride is soaking in the health the sun offers us naturally, fresh air we seem to crave, and the blood flowing. And yoga helps no matter the weather.

And to boot, a healthy winter is not all about the physical, but also the mental. That bike ride does something for that, too. Seeing sights, making us happy. Even laughing. Our moods were lighter. We took my new camera out and about and enjoyed some hobby activity together. And then there is just sharing healthy time as a couple together. Relationship health as a bonus.

Habits can allow bad health. Staying in on a sunny warmer day after 30 (or more) in a row of cold wet and miserable weather is simply a bad habit. Life wasted. And a good dose of natural medicine thrown in the trash so to speak.

To keep a healthy mind, body, and soul when the days are gray and dreary is to simply keep a good attitude about that, too. The mugs of warm and healthy “potions” as Joe calls them help, a lot of water, some time put aside for yourself in yoga, and really learning about the life of hygging are some important ways to keep sane…and healthy of body until Spring comes to release us.

The article is not yet available to share online, but the magazine Breathe has a great piece in this months issue (available at Barnes & Noble) called Edge of Winter for some good keep healthy information.

Vacation 4.


Vacation day 1. We woke, sometime afternoon. We began looking online while still in bed for the best pancakes. We somehow ended up in a pub having scotch eggs and bloody marys. I still don’t know how that happened. And never did get my coffee. At one point we pulled into a parking lot to find our way and I realized my sweater was on backward…I do a quick switch and Joe says “of all the things I’ve done that I could have gone to jail for, this is what I’ll go to jail for” seeing an empty waiting school bus had freaked him out that we might be near a school with me undressing in the car. We were not.

Vacation day 2. I already don’t remember.

Vacation day 3. We ran odd errands to get my eye exams done…I walked out in fear of how many people there seemed to have the flu. We went for queso and I left to wash my hands asking Joe to order me a water for the moment, get back and he “accidentally” ordered me a margarita. So I guess I accidentally drank one. We then hit the movies and watched The Greatest Showman, for which I felt ALL THE FEELS, and when telling Joe that, he said the same…almost made him cry. We had icecream and walked a new area. Poked around -at night- a beautiful church checking out the architecture and then a bank next to it that also had really neat architecture…somehow didn’t get arrested. Driving back we discovered a concert, we stopped at the concert…last two in before sold out. Unexpected, random, and fun. We also decided we are too old not to have some sitting time at concerts anymore.
Weirdly, on the way home, I swear to god not high….even second hand…I had the first craving in 15 years for cocoa puffs cereal in cold milk. If you know me then you know this is far from the type of food I’d ever crave. (My first craving was married to my first husband and he had told me no, I told Joe this, who laughed and said “WTFuck tells you no? And is he still alive?”, of course, reasons this is an ex-husband.) We made that happen. Upon getting home we had other things we were putting in the freezer and Joe asked: “Do you want to leave the potstickers out to have some?” I said sure. Later, after showers, we are getting into bed and he mentioned if I still wanted pot stickers. I said, sure, he doesn’t move, I say “oh, did you think I was going to make them?” He went and made them, we ate pot stickers in bed.

Vacation day 4. Today we managed to get taxes done…yay.
And somehow I got a new camera and a couple of lenses. Not sure how that happened. It had nothing to do with the taxes.

Also, as much as George adores Joe, I am apparently still the favorite. My heart is warmed.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring but a week and a half to go on vacation.

Flu Schlmu.


Flu season is flourishing and I “ain’t havin it”.

Joe said everybody on the boat had the flu or pneumonia except him, so him walking into the house is like a deep scrub, hazmat cleansing in my opinion.

I have not been in public a whole lot this month but the few times I have been there are door handles touched, grocery carts and so forth.

I am all about the hand cleaning on the regular basis, times a hundred now.

I also make what Joe always calls my potions.

I have been making one daily mug of bone (chicken) and vegetable broth with a lot of seasoning and spices such as heavy turmeric, cayenne, and pepper, and heavy on the garlic cloves then stepped over another fresh garlic clove per mug.

Another is a thyme, tea, honey, lemon, cinnamon mixed mug at least once daily. All preventative. Along with the hand washing and extra in-home cleaning and trying to avoid the public more than truly necessary. Which has worked fine for me staying huddled in the warmth and comfort of my home with simmering broths on the stove creating an amazing smell and a pup keeping my feet warm while I worked on my first month of the year. A very busy work time for me, especially this year. Not in places to go, but in many things to do. Joe has been gone for four weeks of time since the day after Christmas but most of the men he works with have children at home and those kids sure do bring home the germs.

Perhaps my potions won’t do the trick, alongside pretty over all healthy eating, extra veggies and high in vitamin C fruits, getting as much sunshine and fresh air walks as possible (and yoga) and being over all two healthy fairly young people and staying away from too much of the public crowd. But I sure do not want this flu.