Monday, January 31, 2011

Cabin Fever, Be Gone

"Landscapes are magically transformed by snow." While "It's a dark time, a cold time. It's also a time of warmth and family and love and tenderness." This is how the singer Sting describes winter.

I used to be one of those I don't like winter complainers. However, I reshaped my thinking, and now savor a chance for the body to slow down, spend lazy nights and weekends watching films or reading under a cozy blanket, savoring a pot of tea in my pajamas. Besides, who wants to spend a few months of their life being miserable and waiting for the next season?

That said, I am not immune to a good dose of cabin fever each winter (although truly imagine the pioneers and their mental health as they endured dark, lonely winters).

Here's how I've been beating the cabin fever blues.

Free: Flipping through magazines after a hectic day at work at my local library.

Co-hosting a winter clothes and post-holiday gift swap at work, where unwanted gifts such as Elizabeth Arden 5th Ave. perfume, orange scented lotion, a watch, a wallet, floral placemats, a calendar and more all found grateful new owners. I'll call this frugal instead of free since I purchase the refreshments, but I only spend around $15.

My finds: English breakfast tea (isn't the tin so pretty?), coffee (I can always use that), a lighthouse ornament with a serene nature scene, and from our book swap which a coworker started and is yearround, Tender is the Night, from American legend F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Also two cardigans, the navy and white one, Charter Club, the black one, Banana Republic. I suspect vanity sizing is the sole reason I fit into a small!

Fugal and free: Adding a dose of glamour to my wardrobe amid all these bulky sweaters, jeans and snowboots. While thrifting on my lunch hour at New York City's Housing Works, I acquired this vintage Judy Bond red blouse for just under $12. Aren't polka dots cheerful? I'll pair it with a white flower piece I got at a now shuttered vintage shop years ago (around $5 I vaguely recall). The vintage inspired watch (really from Avon), free: it was from my mom's jewelry box and was no longer wanted.

Flipping through the black and white photography book on New York City I found tucked away on a bookshelf at my parents' home, I pined for the glamour of an era gone by.

Frugal, splitting a vintage dessert: a banana split at Friendly's, $5.45.

We have a 23-year-old apprentice pharmacist, David Evans Strickler in Pennsylvania to thank for the banana split - he invented it in 1904.

Free: Walking. This is one of my favorite forms of exercise, but New Jersey has been hard hit with snow this winter. I relish any time I can spend in the park on weekends (as does Scotty the family dog).

At Van Saun County Park in Paramus, New Jersey, walking on water.

Viewing the photo of the geese, I reflect on how for wildlife winter is simply about survival (and this also sadly true for too many people, as I'm reminded of as I pass the homeless sleeping at New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal). I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, a hot shower and food in my refrigerator: all is good. Spring is coming.


  1. Catherine thanks for these beautiful reminders of good things about winter. Top of my list is the way snow blanketing the city reflects sunlight, before we clear it all away.

  2. Thanks Jennifer! I come across the weary soul who tires of snow boots and ice (which is understandable this winter), but I find it best to accept Mother Nature is in charge here and just to marvel at the beauty and force of it. Who wants to look back on their life and say, "I wish I complained more."

  3. Hi Catherine. I have followed you to your new place. I have also made the necessary changes on my blog to link this new blog to mine.

    I see you have a photo of my dear friends at Walden Pond. I have not forgotten them this Winter. They love cracked corn. More power to you.


  4. Hi Ted. Many thanks! Your encouragement on the ease of blogging helped me on my humble blogging path, and for that I'm very grateful.

    Hope you have been well, and thank you for remembering our fine-feathered friends. The birds at my outdoor feeder delight in as much cracked corn as I can give them.

    I'm glad to see geese on our ponds considering New Jersey's harsh treatment of them. Winter has been the least of their enemies.

    Take care,