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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Pollyanna Winter

Looking down the driveway while shoveling. Again.

Years ago, when I was going to counseling to overcome long-standing depression issues, the fabulous psychologist I was seeing taught me one simple tool which made me look at the world differently. Not only did it help me to become a much happier person (lalalalalala), it changed the way I dealt with everyday frustrations. Like, you know, this Winter to End All Winters. (It is currently snowing. Again.)
Need some ice for your martini?

What's that? Oh, the simple tool was this: every time you have a negative thought, recognize you're having one, and replace it with something positive. For example... "I hate all this snow!" Oopsy, negative thought. "At least it's not sleeting!" [Hey, I told you it was simple. You were maybe expecting rocket science?]
Shoveling a path to the birdfeeders. Have been unable to train birds to do it themselves.

The only downside of this is that sometimes I tend to be a little Pollyanna about things. Always seeing the upside. Still, there are worse ways to live. Mind you, this winter has made it a bit difficult to stay positive at times, but I'm doing my best. If the bad weather is getting you down, here is my Pollyanna View of This Winter:

  1. Wherever you are, someone else probably has it worse. (Unless you're in Minnesota. Sorry, Elysia.)
  2. All this snow means we definitely don't have to worry about drought come summer.
  3. The bitter cold means less bugs like mosquitoes and ticks (which have been terrible here after a few mild winters in a row).
  4. The extended bitter cold also means less ragweed in the fall. (Huzzah!)
  5. Shoveling snow is like having your own personal gym, conveniently located right outside your door.
  6. It is really beautiful--especially when viewed from the couch while holding a cup of hot chocolate in one hand and a book in the other. But seriously, beautiful.
  7. We'll REALLY appreciate spring when it finally gets here.
  8. It gives us an excuse to hide out and hibernate, taking some time to be quiet and introspective. (See #6, above)
  9. Harsh winters can make us truly appreciate all the modern conveniences we have to help us through. Think about doing this kind of winter without electricity, running water, or grocery stores. Not to mention indoor plumbing!
  10. If you like winter sports or making snowmen, you are really in luck!
  11. Only 31 days until the Spring Equinox! Not that anyone is counting...
Winter will never been my favorite season, but I try to appreciate it for its part in the Wheel of the Year, and go with the flow.
So, can you add to my Pollyanna Winter list? What is good about this winter for you, if you are in a place that's dealing with it?


  1. Watching the birds at the suet feeder.
    Easily cooling off from hot flashes. (ha!)
    Looking at animal and bird tracks in the snow.

  2. Not looking around in surprise at the blossoming world because you're still waiting for winter to appear; not breaking out the allergy meds in February; not seeing digital roadside billboards that say "Severe drought in progress. Help conserve water." ; not converting your meditation timer app to a family shower timer... shall I continue?

    1. Yup. It is easy to envy those who live in warmer climes, but there's always a downside.

  3. What's good about this winter? Cuddling with my cats indoors; setting up a temporary home office near a window that faces south; appreciating the sun when I can see it!; admiring the beautiful snow in my backyard; listening to the wind.

  4. I don't know how bad it is in Minnesota but here in Nova Scotia it has been pretty rough. Thing is, this winter has been more like the winters we used to have in the 80's and 90's. The past 15-20 winters have been unseasonably mild. While I have had enough of winter as well, I understand where you're coming from and try to look on the bright side of things. My mantra has been "Only # weeks until spring..." Unfortunately, spring can sometimes not really arrive until the end April. Keep your chin up, your kettle handy and your stick on the ice. :)

    1. Yes, this is more like the winters I grew up with too (near Albany). We've just been spoiled, I guess :-)
      And I'm not surprised Nova Scotia is having a tough time. Hang in there!
      You're right--calendar spring often looks a lot like More Winter here, but at least then you know the end is in sight!

  5. I should have been named Polla Anna. I love the cold against my skin, and I love the deep winter sleeps. Give me cold and snow over hurricanes and snakes...


  6. Hmm. We in the Pacific NW have not had the winter like you folks, but it's still my least-favorite season. However,

    We've had a lot of gorgeous sunny days.

    We are now getting a lot of rain that we need to stave off a drought. And it's mostly been raining at night, when I'm inside, warm and dry.

    The dramatic weather (and extremely different weather) showcases the beauty and wildness of the area.

    I'll be very glad to see spring. Whenever it comes: it's a crap shoot here.

    That's it. Notice how I didn't add "but ..." to any of the items on my list. That took a great deal of will on my part.

    I'm glad you are so positive. Good for you!

    1. Yay for finally getting rain! And not saying "but" :-)

      And being positive doesn't mean that I don't have days when there is some serious cursing...

  7. I live in the South and we are NOT used to Winter weather like we have had this year. Although it has been difficult dealing with power outages, freezing temps and debris from fallen trees everywhere...it has made me appreciate things that we usually take for granted or don't think about at all. Little things become big things during times like these. I've come to appreciate having enough wood to keep the fire going around the clock, the taste of homemade hot chocolate made on my wood burning stove, the way my childrens faces look by candlelight, how strangers and neighbors have come together to help each other...
    This has truly been a season of learning for me.

    1. Melissa, it sounds like you have been coping remarkably well with this unexpected winter!

  8. Since I work with animals, my first thought as the bitter cold arrived and kept staying was "Die, fleas and ticks, die die die!" Around here we've had as much ice as snow, and I've been grateful (and surprised) that the power outages have not included me or anyone I know. Also, as of today, almost all of it has melted and there's been no flooding!
    The ice, of course, has been incredibly beautiful.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    1. I have been holding my breath all winter (which isn't easy) because of power outages. So far so good. *knocks on wood*

      We're going to have melting in the next few days, when temps are expected to go up to 40. Hopefully no flooding here either, although I can pretty much guarantee water in my basement.

  9. Winter is my second favorite season (right after fall), so I really couldn't relate this time, BUT: I like your attitude about negative things in life! I have to remember it when the summer starts ;)

  10. Hee hee, thanks for acknowledging my pain, Deborah! I am thankful for Crashed Ice coming up this weekend - they make this wild, steep course that athletes actually SKATE down, and thousands of people crowd around (outside) to watch. This year it might actually be warmer than 10 degrees...we'll see!

    1. Crashed Ice is the sound that is going to be heard around my house in the next few days as we hit 40 and all the giant icicles hanging off the roof are going to come sliding off with a thud. Have fun!

  11. I'm in Minnesota and just tell myself"at least Siberia's colder! Well, except for a few says. ☺