Wednesday, January 18, 2012
JR's Very Unscientific Cure for SAD
DEBORAH CROMBIE: It's the middle of January. Christmas is so over. We've returned the things that didn't fit. Spent our gift certificates. The catalogs filled with lovely, sparkly things are in the recycle bin, and now our mailboxes are stuffed with credit card bills.
We've made our New Year's resolutions, and for they most part they've been the usual dreary stuff--eat less, go to the gym, give up this or that or the next thing.
Dark days ahead, indeed, at least for the next couple of months. (And yes, I do know that those of you who live in northern parts, especially Alaska with your record snows, are snickering at the idea of a Texan complaining about winter. But hey, it's our winter and we are entitled to our own degree of misery.)
So we here at Jungle Red felt OBLIGATED to come up with a few things that would actually make our readers want to draw every last drop of goodness from the long, cold months to come.
My list: First and always, BOOKS. Short days and long nights equal more reading. And then, almost as blissful, there's more Downton Abbey to look forward to, and a new Sherlock Holmes series! (And I guiltily admit that I will probably give in and watch the new season of American Idol. I always say I won't, but then I have to see what on earth Steven Tyler is going to wear. Or say ... And whether there is anyone who can actually sing.)
I'm throwing in SOUP. I love soup. I could eat soup every day, but am less inclined to make it once the temps start climbing, so winter is soup season for me (even if I can't bring myself to boil Hallie's lobsters.)
Movies in front of the fire.
Crisp walks with the dog (that don't have to be taken before eight in the morning, which is the summer rule.)
And sun. I know we've promised not to be scientific, and there's lots of research that tells us why it's so important to get some sunlight every day. But from a purely personal perspective, if I can grab a half hour sitting in a patch of sunshine on my deck on a clear winter day, I feel about a hundred times better. Now I understand why the English are so crazy about conservatories. (Every proper English house should have a conservatory. Just look at the English home decorating magazines. Every other ad is for custom-built conservatories. The other half are for very expensive kitchen furniture.)
I could add looking at English decorating magazines to my list, but will let the other JRs have a go!
More reasons not to be SAD:
LUCY BURDETTE: You see, I have a mid-January birthday so there's a little excitement generated from that. But books books books is the main thing (and not just the launch of my new series:). Very excited about Deb's new one coming up. And I have a fabulous stack on my nightstand. And the University of Connecticut women's basketball. Oh, I am crazy about watching those young women play. And the UConn men too, but the women even more.
RHYS BOWEN: So far it's been warm and sunny in both California and Arizona. Now I'm back in CA and the temperature has dropped, making me think winter for the first time. (Yes, I know California winter isn't anything like New England but it feels cold to me.) So here's what I love: A fire crackling in the fireplace. Family sitting and laughing around the table. Reading a book while wrapped in a rug, sipping hot chocolate or a herb tea. Good music on the stereo. Knitting while watching the Australian Open on TV. Painting, sketching. I also love soups--thick and hearty. And the Acacia tree in the front yard is about to flower--the first sign that spring is around the corner.
HALLIE EPHRON: Rhys, I'd love to hear more about your painting. A future blog? With pictures?? My only non-word past-time is cooking. Oh yeah, and eating.
Winter. Actually I don't mind it so much in January. (It's March when I really get sick to death of it.) And the days are getting noticeably longer -- yesterday at 4:00 it was still light out. On the down side, it's getting COLDER (8 degrees yesterday morning).
My remedies: Yes soup! Last night chicken vegetable from the leftovers of a roast chicken. Left over leftovers for lunch today. Appreciating the stars in a winter sky -- when it's really cold the night sky is gorgeous. Drinking sherry before dinner. Sleeping under piles of blankets and not getting woken up by early sun.
Hot baths. We have a big old bathtub that we just had resurfaced in our never-upgraded 1920s bathroom. It's my favorite piece of furniture in the house, if you can count a bathtub as furniture.
Best of all: time to write. January and February are blessedly slow months for me in terms of events and I'm on a tear.
JAN BROGAN: I agree with Hallie, January and February are usually my most productive months. And to be truthful, winter has been so mild compared to last year that I don't even feel like I need a remedy. But home-made soup -- I made a killer Portuguese Kale soup last week - and a crackling fireplace are definitely at the top of my list. Perhaps reading by the fireplace is at the tippy top. And right now I'm reading Moby Dick for the first time and am shocked that I am crazy about it.
The best part of winter? I love those days that are so cold and so snowy that you feel completely justified not going outdoors all day. Completely housebound. That's what I New Englander I've become. And then there is Downton Abbey and Doc Martin, so really, who needs summer?
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Oh, great idea! Let's see.
I won't mention shopping. But there are a lot of sales right now. And I have a new purse which was 1. on sale and 2. I had POINTS and as a result, the purse was free. Free! Now THAT is shopping.
I won't mention football, but it's a fun time to be from New England.
Birthdays! My husband's birthday is this month. (And my step-grandson Eli, who is so clever that he figured out Jonathan is eight times older than he is. Is that weird, or what?) And it makes me think about birthdays..we celebrate them-because it means we are glad that person was born. Right? So that is SO nice.
Watching the snow, through the moonlight, from cozy inside. I ask you.
Counting blessings. Always a good thing.
DEBS: Lucy, for someone who just wrote a book about rowing, I can't believe I left out sports! Soup, yes, Hallie! I'm roasting a chicken next week and am going to make your chicken soup. (I think, by the way, that when we give our Edwardian dinner party, that Hallie should be in charge of the menu...) And bathtubs--we have old roll top tubs. Heaven when it's cold, once you get the blasted cast iron warm. Rhys, I want to hear more about your painting, too. Jan, thanks for reminding me about Doc Martin. And I've never read Moby Dick, I blush to admit. Another book for the TBR. Hank, I love the image of moonlight on snow.
And counting blessings.
It was 75 degrees here in Texas the last couple of days. Blissful winter weather, right? Then, last night, the low was 27. I'm going to add quilts and my down comforter to my list, a few snuggly dogs and cats, and buy a good bottle of sherry to sip before dinner.
What about you, our friends and readers? How do you combat the winter blues?