Winter morinings
December 29, 2011, 1:24 pm
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My tendency in winter is to hibernate.  I must be defended from some animal that thought it was a good idea to simply sleep through the cold probably because otherwise they were intolerable to anyone and of little use due to total brain shut down from the cold.  I get grumpy in the cold.  My body, particularly around my neck and shoulders, tenses and the muscles get all knotted and sore.  I am rendered retarded from the desire to sleep.

Nature agrees with me on this.  During the cold months when the days are shorter (even the sun seems to sleep in) natural life turns within and does the work to prepare for the more productive months of spring and summer.

This morning I awoke at 5:00am, a perfectly good hour on my regular schedule.  I turned on the space heater in my room, composed and sent an email that needed composing and sending, then curled back up under my covers to sleep for another hour and a half.  It was tough to get up after that even, my body happy to be nestled in my warm sheets in my little cave covered by my down comforter and purple velvet duvet cover.

It reminded me of the best winter of my life- the three months I spent on bed rest while pregnant with my daughter.  My only regret was missing sledding with my then nine year old son but other than that it was sublime.  I slept a lot, kept a journal, watched every movie I ever wanted to see, read a bunch of books, my then husband brought me breakfast in bed every morning and left a cooler full of snacks and goodies for noshing throughout the day. People visited me often and I hosted dinner parties in my bed room, a spa night and played dozens of rounds of Uno with my son.  I read the paper front to back every day, worked out with hand weights, got involved in politics, revamped my resume and best of all wrote letters to people that I had lost touch with and had influenced me throughout my life. I felt the most cared for, loved and relaxed I ever have before or since.

Every now and then I succumb to my winter nature and recall my lovely bed rest days and stay in bed all day.  It is a refreshing break that I highly recommend for rejuvenation and preparation for the busier months ahead.


Winter icks
December 12, 2011, 2:34 pm
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It has officially started.  Whatever Darwinian trail of evolution that has been traversed to begat me and my biological habits has kicked in and I just want to sleep until spring. This happens every year. My mind shuts down.  I feel eternally tired.  It is difficult to function.  I put my pajamas on at 4:30pm yesterday and went to bed getting up only to wash my face, brush my teeth and watch holiday cupcake wars with my daughter.

The temperatures dipped into the lower ’20’s last night and the kitchen felt like the inside of an ice chest this morning.  My daughter even put on her winter coat to eat breakfast although the base board heat was turned all the way up all night, the space heater was on full and the oven was on with the door open to add extra warmth.

Being cold simply drains me to the point of dysfunction.

To cheer things up in Black Cat Cabin, we went yesterday to a friend’s farm and cut a cute pine to make a Christmas tree. Despite the abundance of cedars on “our” farm, my friend offered the use of a saw so we went there.  A couple of friends helped my daughter to decorate it while I prepared a dish for a potluck in the kitchen.  They mistakenly used the box of ornaments that belong to my ex-husband so the tree is now a constant reminder of him which merely adds to my grumpiness.

To make matters worse, my daughter asked if there would be presents for her under the tree when she returns from her scuba diving trip with her Dad to Mexico.  Not this year, honey. Your mother is on an ego trip of financial disaster thinking she can make a living on her own being a writer.

At least we have a home and for now can pay for heat and food for which I am very grateful.  I still feel in my heart (as I always do) that things will get better in the near future.

The universe is functioning perfectly.



frosty temperatures
December 11, 2011, 1:29 am
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The temperature is going into the twenties tonight here at Black Cat Cabin.  The wood stove is going and keeping the great room nice and warm.  My daughter just got home this afternoon from a special trip with her grandmother from the Florida Keys.  We are snuggled in.  The dryer is running and adding some warm air.

I went to the linen cupboard for my flannel sheets, my favorite super soft, extra thick flannel sheets I got on sale from Restoration Hardware when I worked there years ago.  My light green flannel sheets with white frost designs, one of the great pleasures of winter living are not there.  I looked everywhere I could think of to no avail.  My last hope is that they are in the storage unit.

I am sad.

The Wood Stove
December 2, 2011, 11:38 am
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Many people in the Charlottesville area use wood stoves as a source for heating in the colder months.  It is a normal occurrence.  I am unsure as to why they are so especially popular here but in Black Cat Cabin where the primary heating source is electric baseboard heat, perhaps the most expensive and outside of a heat pump probably the least efficient way to heat a home, the wood stove is a welcome addition to the house.  Well, it would be if it were one of those modern versions of  wood stove that has some sort of fan system that blows the warm air into the room rather than sending the majority of it up the chimney or even if it were a bit bigger – but it isn’t.

The wood stove in Black Cat Cabin is of a small antique cast-iron variety, barely big enough to get a decent sized short cut log inside.  It requires constant attention and may have been designed more to radiate heat from the heated iron than send out warmth from the actual fire.  The result is that one may start a fire in it to take the edge off the chill in the great room and go into another room to do something like add a few layers of clothing or start dinner and the fire will have gone out by the time one returns.  The high ceilings that lack ceiling fans in the great room also contributes to the ineffectiveness of the little pot bellied iron maiden to produce much heat.

The best part about the wood stove though is the ease of fire-making.  You just sort of throw some paper, little sticks and bigger sticks in there and light the paper up with a match.  So much easier than “building” a fire in a fireplace. Then just drop wood on top of that until you are ready to leave its side.  No worries about leaving a fire burning in it because it will burn out within 20 minutes anyway.