Sad as I am to say it, winter can ‘wrap it up’ any time now

This is the ground outside right now: downed branches, tightly frozen into the icy snow beneath them.

The ground outside: downed branches, most of which are firmly frozen into/under rock-solid snow.

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It’s the first week of March, and we’re nearing the end of the most winter-y winter I have experienced in almost ten years.

This past weekend, we braced ourselves for the 673rd snowstorm of the season. Thankfully, we only got about an inch or so. Nonetheless, when I decided to brave the cold for a walk on Monday, it only took being outside for about 90 seconds of mid-teens temps and wind for me to change my mind.

I do get outside most days, if only briefly. I go to work five days per week, and I park a good distance from the entrance in order to get some brisk walking in for a minute or so on the way in and out.

If this sounds strange, let me explain why I do this.

The barrage of snow we’ve received here in the northeast over the past couple of months, combined with generally erratic weather, has left snow piled high and sidewalks icy or otherwise impassible. Because the last thing I need is to break a leg (or worse) on the ice, I decided to only take walks this winter when the weather was well above freezing and I could walk on dry ground.

I’ve started parking my car away from the entrance to my job, because I’ve found that the parking lot at work is generally clear, and I can usually walk from my parking spot to the door without endangering myself. Of course, I will park close and tread carefully when ice is king, but I like that I’m at least forcing myself to get a modicum of exercise most days.

I do stand and walk around all day at my job anyway, and I’m glad for this, because it means that I’m not completely neglecting exercise just because walking outside is dangerous. However, I’m looking forward to spring, and the opportunity to get outside for sustained walks on a regular basis.

Since global warming is obviously a myth – Exhibit A: the 2013-14 Polar Vortex (Ha ha!) If next winter is as volatile, snowy, and cold as this one has been, I’m seriously considering investing in something that I can strap to my shoes in order to have a sure grip on slippery ground. I don’t want to go through another winter taking one walk per week-to-ten-days like I have this year. Sure, eating moderately well, parking far away from my job entrance when possible, and getting that occasional real walk in has kept me relatively trim this winter, but I’ve still wrestled with cabin fever from time to time, and I don’t really enjoy that at all.

I actually love winter – particularly at the beginning of the season. I like the cold. In theory, I can always put more clothing on if I’m cold, whereas in the summer, when it sits between the high 80s and the low 100s for a couple of months in a row, I’m sweaty and miserable. I love the beauty of snow, and I love Christmas time, and so on. But right now, winter is little more than a dirty mess on the ground. And I’m not physically up to weathering the wind chill on a long walk due to my determination to avoid slipping.

But I don’t like walking outside and then turning around to go back in because it’s too frigid. It’s embarrassing, for goodness’ sake! I’m not even sure why I admitted that! Oh well. Next winter, I want to be armored and ready to handle those elements… by taking plenty of walks, despite the weather.

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Thanks for reading this post by Russ at Dischordant Forms. Follow me on Twitter at @DischordantRuss. Comments are welcome!


Peace (a belated wish)

Hello, friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I work retail, and so this holiday season has been like any other: hectic, stressful, and generally tiring. It has come with its share of trials, but also many blessings. The season has gone approximately how I had envisioned, with unexpected issues here and there, but we are resilient, are we not?

Anyway, as such, I’ve been slow to post – both here and at my other blog – but that’s par for the course for me during the holidays; fortunately, I’ve come to accept it over the years. There are occasionally times in life where we don’t feel the passion or energy that we normally feel for our hobbies, and I used to despair over that. And even now, there are times when I feel small bits of guilt for not “keeping up” with the blog, but they are weaker and less overbearing than they have been in years past. We do what we can – and what we have to – in order to get by and stay healthy, and I’m happy to have come to terms with that reality.

It’s difficult to believe, in some ways, that the craziness is almost over for us. Amid the busy-ness at work, we got to spend time with, and talk with, family. We suffered through the death of a pet. We experienced the pleasure of giving and receiving gifts. We battled sleep deficits. We decorated our small Christmas tree. We listened to Christmas carols and watched Christmas specials. We fought off sickness. And we’re coming out okay on the other side of it all.

Working retail at the holidays is something of a marathon, a two-month test of endurance and patience. The time for unwinding comes after the holiday season is over, when folks are back at work and children are back in school. Once these things happen and work slows down a tad, I start getting back into my groove a bit, spending more time playing guitar, getting outside regularly for walks, writing posts, and getting projects and tasks completed (beyond the laundry / groceries / dishes / basics, etc.). I’m enjoying the holiday season, but I already find that I’m looking forward to getting back into that groove.

That said, I love the holidays. I’ve listened to a ton of Christmas music over the past couple of months, although I’ve found that I’m enjoying the more reverent, classical, and hymnal music more as I get older, as opposed to the more upbeat, “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree”/”Jingle Bells” types of music, in part because it’s generally more peaceful. Peace is a precious commodity amid the chaos of retail during the holidays.

Additionally, I’ve gotten to make some fun holiday treats on a tight budget, which has been gratifying. I’ve also managed to get through the season without adding the proverbial ten holiday pounds – I’ve maintained a weight that I had gotten down to in October, and which is within ten pounds or so of my goal. That puts me in good position to get to work on attaining that goal in the new year, rather than starting from way behind after the holidays (as has often been the case).

Overall, it has been a good year for me – it was certainly better overall than both 2012 and 2011. I’m looking forward to what 2014 brings, in terms of personal growth and progress. And more posts here on the blog!

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Well, this post went where it went, as it had no outline… In short, I hope that you are enjoying the holiday season in whatever way makes you happy, and I wish you peace and success in the new year!

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Thanks for reading this post by Russ at Dischordant Forms. Follow me on Twitter at @DischordantRuss. Comments are welcome!