Carpe Diem: Drink Champagne

Looking for a reason to pop open that dusty bottle of bubbly? Might I suggest Groundhog Day?

Looking for a reason to pop open that dusty bottle of bubbly? Might I suggest Groundhog Day?

Whenever I get an email notification that someone is following me on Pinterest, I feel that I should apologize to that person because I’m certainly not leading them anywhere. I created a Pinterest account months ago, and I haven’t been back to it since then. At least that was true until this morning.

I woke with an urge to “seize the day”—or more accurately, seize the season. It seemed to me that even if I try not to call it one, I do make a “Bucket List” for summer. If September rolls around and I haven’t gone to the beach or grilled an entire meal over charcoals, I’m disappointed. I feel like I’ve missed out on something really special. I haven’t made the most of the season. I haven’t seized anything.

What about winter? Real winter and not fa-la-la-la holiday winter in which activities and memories are dominated by Christmas? Shouldn’t winter get its own bucket list?

Off the top of my head, the only truly winter-time activities I could come up with were snow-dependent: Build a snowman, sledding, make snow-angels, have a snowball fight. Not that it is an issue for us this year, but what if you don’t get snow? Most of my family and friends live in the Deep South. They get snow once every five or six years–maybe. Here in the mid-Atlantic, we didn’t get any snow last year—nope, none at all that I remember. My point is that for a lot of us, snow isn’t a given.

So, I was browsing Pinterest looking at all thing wintery when my daughter noticed and asked, “What are you doing, Mom?”

“I’m trying to come up with a list of fun things to do that can only be done in the winter-time.”

“You could put cleaning on your list.”

Hmmm…cleaning is on list every day of the year, and when I am finished cleaning, there is always more cleaning to do. It’s never any fun. Clearly, she missed the point.

And I missed the point of Pinterest. It seems to me that it is just a search engine for very visual people, and my search for wintertime activities led me to pages and pages of cutesy paper-crafts. I “pinned” one because I could see it as being fun for the kids, easy for me, and something worth keeping versus tossing into my recycling bin. Still, I didn’t feel any closer to making a must-do seasonal list.

Then, I relaxed my expectation.  I concluded that I was over-thinking this, and I came up with the following list:

Wear sweaters. I have some great sweaters, but I almost never wear them because acrylic fleece has become my mom-uniform. Fleece is warm, light-weight, washable, and extremely inexpensive when you catch a Land’s End End-of-Season Clearance Sale—and I always do! I’m not going to give it up, but I am going to reach further into my closet a pull-out what is left of my dry-clean only wardrobe and wear it.

Accessorize. While I am looking through all the clothes that I don’t wear and those that I over-wear, I realized I have more than one pair of earrings, too. Besides, they say that if you are having a bad day, you should try wearing your best jewelry. Does anyone have a tiara I can borrow?

Feed the birds. I’m lucky. I live in a place with abundant bird-life. In fact, I never really noticed birds until I moved into this house, but they are all around us. Cardinals, Blue jays, goldfinches, scarlet tangiers, orioles, wrens, tufted titmice, chickadees, blue birds…and crows and vultures. While I won’t be intentionally hitting any deer or rodents to feed the vultures, I can spread some breadcrumbs and some seeds for the rest of them.

Drink champagne. One of the things we have in abundance thanks to cleaning out my mother-in-law’s house is bubbly. Lots of it. I think I’ll start looking for reasons to break it out. Groundhog Day? Seeing the bottom of my hamper? A really great Super Bowl commercial? Tuning into the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet instead of watching the Super Bowl commercials? Not having to shovel the walkway on a Tuesday? Yeah, life is full of champagne moments. We just have to seize them.

Take a walk through the woods on a truly cold day. Bundle up and go for a walk. Notice the stuff you don’t see in the summertime because of the heavy leaf-cover. Pay attention to the sounds. Everything looks and sounds different in the winter. I should look at them and hear them differently.

Make soup. To be fair, I make soup at least three times a week–year round–because that is pretty much all my mother-in-law eats for lunch and supper. Right now, I have chicken-vegetable bisque, spinach-tomato-chicken soup, split pea soup with ham, and pumpkin-sausage soup in my freezer. I’ll make some cauliflower-cheddar later today. But what if I made some soup that I like to eat? You know, something that hasn’t been milled in a blender?

Bake. I don’t use my oven in the summertime. So, it’s now or never, right?

Donate winter stuff. I worked at a domestic violence shelter and volunteered at a homeless shelter, and so I know, people are generous in December. Donations pour in, and then come to a halt. From what I remember, our residents always needed warm socks, hats and gloves in the winter and these were things that were rarely donated. I won’t, however, rely on my experiences from eons ago. I’ll call the local shelter and ask them, what their greatest need is before I donate.

Force bulbs. Part décor and part science experiment. Fun for the whole family. Who doesn’t like daffodils?

Plan spring and summer activities. Warm weather will come. School will let out. Days will be long. While I am not advocating that anyone wish their life away, there is nothing wrong with looking into a pool membership right now.

That’s a pretty decent list. Nothing too difficult. Nothing over the top. Do-able. Meaningful. Comforting. Memory-making. And isn’t that seizing the season?






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