Forced bulbs made great gifts for the family in '09
There's a reason they call it "Old Man Winter." Winter is not a chipper young lady, or a suave, middle-aged bachelor. Winter is a nagging, complaining, angry old guy, who lives in a group home and makes the nurses' lives miserable. When you wish him a good morning, he snaps back "these eggs are cold." When you offer him some new eggs, he complains that you are wasteful. His kids have stopped visiting, his doctor avoids him, and even his cat prefers the lap of strangers.

Whenever I tell people I am "new" to Vermont, they ask if I've lived through a winter yet. It seems this is some sort of litmus test. This is a Vermonter's way of saying "If you've endured five months of single-digit (on a good day) thermometer reads and lived to tell about it, you may just make it here, kid." I survived last winter, my first in Vermont. It was tough. Really tough. It was cold, and long, and dark. I am told, by Vermont standards, it was an unusually mild season.

Real Vermonters love winter. Real Vermonters cheer when the first frost comes and kills off the hold-out summer perrenials. They race to the dealership to change into their snow tires and count down the days until they can strap on their snow shoes. They plan sledding parties and daydream about running barefoot through snow banks, into a hot sauna. Deep down, I have to wonder if they are just talking themselves into liking it. But if they are in fact faking, it's an Emmy-worthy performance, because the conviction in their voices runs deeper than a mid-January snow-drift.

It's nearly November, and the cold weather is creeping in. A friend recently asked me how I was going to plan to enjoy winter this year. She is one of those people who knows how to ask helpful questions, rather than allowing me to wallow.  And she does it in such a way that I don't even realize she is helping me steer my thoughts in a positive direction until much later on, when I am already feeling better. At her suggestion, I've made a list of things I am excited about for winter. I also pulled some favorite photos from last winter to remind me about the fun to be had. And actually, as I look at this list, I do feel excited. There are so many fun things to do, and they are totally dependent on the cold weather. Maybe the real Vermonters are not faking it after all.
Winter 2009: Potluck Party & Beers by the Bonfire

Reasons to be excited about winter

1. Hot chocolate with Kahlua

2. Baking...the house fills with yummy aromas you can even smell on the second floor. And the oven warms up the whole house. And R comes and sits by me in the kitchen, rocking in the old wooden rocker I bought at a thrift store, stealing bites of cookies as soon as I pull them out of the oven.

3. Firing up our new wood stove and spending nights in with a glass of wine while enjoying the glow and chatting about the future.

4. Wool socks

5. Coming home from work to a blazing hot sauna, which R has kindled to the perfect temperature.

6. Waking up to a find the world was transformed by a blanket of white snow while we were sleeping.

Root Veggies

7. Potluck dinner parties, with cheesy casseroles and potato-based dishes galore.

8. Ski days on the mountain. Snuggling with R on the chair lift.

9. A perfect excuse to stay indoors and write the day away

10. Five whole months to collect seed catalogs and plan next year's garden.

11. Mid-winter beach vacations!

Sleigh Ride in Stowe 

12. Forcing bulbs

13. Cooking with root vegetables

14. Little kids in snowsuits

15. Bonfires

16. Sleigh rides

17. Christmas, New Year's, Valentines Day

18. The perfect weather to start a sewing project

19. Sweaters and snow boots

20. The promise of spring

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