The shortest, coldest day

It was sunny this morning when I woke up. Alas! Six days of Darkness and Gray, and on the Seventh Day there was sun. It was almost Biblical.

Except, it was 27 degrees out. And very windy. Ikes. Not my idea of a sunny day, but, maybe not so bad. I was still “in” for the ABC Christmas light ride. A little chillier than I like, but I could bundle up.

When I got home from church at 11:00, it was 17 degrees (according to the indicator on my computer). The news was all abuzz about the arctic front headed our way, promising temperatures below zero this evening. I think it was at about this time that I decided I wasn’t going to ride in the ABC Christmas light ride. Even though Don May, our fearless Thursday night ride leader, sent an email out this afternoon (by then, 12 degrees) to let us know the ride was still on. Huh.

Not for me. I don’t have clothes enough for that kind of weather. And the wind! Oh, it’s blustering out there. I went out once after church, around 4pm, to go pick some stuff up from the store. That was the last time I went out. Freeze baby that I am, I determined I’d be better off just riding indoors on the old trainer while dreaming of being outside on a nice summer’s day (perhaps XOBA, for which I anxiously await the registration for 2009 to go online).

Before using the trainer, I made sure I had purpose for exercising. I made up the double layer pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust (no bake!) that I’m bringing to my mom’s house for the big H Family Christmas Eve Bash. Ooooh, they are going to loooove this one. I can tell because I licked the bowls and beaters for both layers and I doubt it’s going to change much in taste while sitting in the refrigerator doing whatever it is that no-bake recipes do to complete themselves. (And, yeah, I know you were supposed to whisk the ingredients, but I only own one, sad, pathetic, tiny little whisk and it hardly worked for this, so I just used the mixer on the lowest setting, which I don’t think ruined the pie any, really.)

That done, I’m feeling quite like the little culinary dessert queen. Now I think I might make some pumpkin cookies, or another loaf of pumpkin bread, to take to the party as well. I know, I know–OD on pumpkin, right? Not me, but I suppose everyone else will become bored with pumpkin desserts. I don’t see how that is possible… Still, maybe I can save the pumpkin bread for Christmas at my parents’. It seemed to be a big hit at Thanksgiving, and frankly, I’m just proud that it turned out so well. Maybe I’m not so much the baking duntz anymore.

So, with all the bowls and beaters dutifully licked (the reason I like baking so much), I pulled my trainer in front of the TV to watch a Christmas movie on Lifetime or Halmark or one of those other girly channels, and I proceeded to ride for about 50 minutes with five minutes of sprints at intervals of every other minute for ten minutes. It sucked, but I felt better about myself. It’s probably good, in retrospect, that I didn’t ride with ABC because I’m still getting over my cold; I was overtaken by ten minutes of coughing after I got off the trainer. I did some squats and lunges on the Total Gym to help get my legs ready for skiing next week. I threw in some sit ups to work on my never-shrinking abs. And then I called it good.

I must keep up my exercise through Christmas Eve so that I can eat guilt-free (well, it’s never guilt-free). Hopefully, I will get my butt up tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I have to work Monday and Tuesday and half of Wednesday. And I have the rest of the week off.

I’m looking forward to skiing over New Year’s. Michael and I plan to leave town as soon as I get out of work on New Year’s Eve (another half day). If we get down there early enough, and we feel like it, we’re going to do some night skiing at Holiday Valley that night. Maybe hang out at the lodge to bring in the New Year or just drink the sparkling merlot I got from Myrrdin Winery this morning (via one of my fellow parishioners who owns the winery). Then, Thursday, we plan to ski at Holimont, which is the private resort where I learned to ski when I was 16–my friend Jennifer’s family owned a condo on the resort so I frequently got to go on weekend trips with them. Holimont is only open to the public on weekdays, so I rarely get to ski there anymore since it takes three and a half hours to get to Ellicotville (where both resorts are located). Friday and Saturday we plan to ski at Holiday Valley, which is my favorite resort in the east.

In other words, I’m praying for snow!! Lots and lots of snow! I suppose since it just needs to snow in upstate NY, the snow doesn’t have to bother us in NE Ohio… If I’m going to spend three days on the slopes out here, I need all the help I can get to get optimal conditions. It’s really hard to get nice powder out here.

Anyway, my weekend was nice. I learned a few things, such as:

– Hanging garland over your fireplace and then using your fireplace is a smelly combination that causes your fire alarm to go off. Garland melts pretty quickly!

– Pulling the lever to my fire place flue towards me actually opens the flue; pushing it away from me closes the flue. I had it backwards. In other words, I have had the flue open for a year. I closed it to turn on the fire place. It got quite hazy in the living room. Dar. (I should have, you know, actually looked up the chimney with the flue in each direction to determine the right configuration… but that would be too obvious for a Mars Girl.)

At the time of this writing, the temp is now 0 degrees. The wind is blowing and sitting here at my computer next to the window, my hands are cold and I’m generally chilly. New windows can’t even keep out this bitter chill. My heater seems to be on constantly so I think my gas bill is going to be over the mere $126 I just paid for last month. Hurrumph. I feel like I’m on the North Pole right now.

It’s time for me to end this entry so that I can move towards the center of the house where all the warmth is… and so I can tap my thermostat up a few degrees (it’s set at 65 right now). Brrrr!! It’s like that Twilight Zone episode where the Earth is drifting further and further away from the sun and the guy can’t get warm enough and he dreams that instead the Earth is getting closer and closer to the sun. (I’m dreaming of a warm ride in sunny July right now. Or laying on a beach in the Carribean reading a book as the sun warms my skin.)

Happy Winter Solstice, everyone! From here on in, the days grow longer again. And hopefully warmer!

10 thoughts on “The shortest, coldest day

  1. I learned: before attempting to bake anything in my mom’s oven, I should check to make sure it is not being used to store food gifts and/or dirty dishes. My sister and I spent a good 2 hours last night scraping up burnt plastic, melted chocolate, and peppermint goo. Your pumpkiny baked goods sound delicious!

  2. Yeah, I could just feel the cold coming through my poorly-insulated windows last night. My heater was chugging all night but still could not reach the temperature I set it at (I wasn’t cold, though, I just set it a little high).

  3. I slept on my couch. And my normally warm little knit blanket was NOT ENOUGH. I had to pile on a second blanket. My Nicki kitty snuggled up to me… and my Cleo kitty stayed in one of the cat houses all night (and she usually sleeps just on an cat blanket in the open air). She looked out at me from the cat hut this morning, looking irrate. She normally comes out while I’m getting ready for work in the morning, but I didnt see a tail or butt of her all morning… (I think the cats are going to stage a coup if I don’t increase the temperature in my house. I dont understand why they are so mad–they have a fur coat!)

  4. Baking – I baked cookies for the first time in many years. The last time I baked cookies myself was for extra credit in a Home Ec. class and that was many years ago. It was WAAYYY too much work. I think next year I’ll just leave the Christmas baking to Val.Christmas Lights Bike Ride – Crazy!!! I enojoy bike riding and rode many miles this summer. But there is point when safety and compfort takes over. I think it was foolish to bike when there is ice and snow on the roads. I opted for a friend’s indoor Tree Triming and carol singing party. Yum! Lots of good desserts and snacks and good company.MichelleHiding Stuff in the oven – We don’t really hide stuff, but our oven is often used for storage. We have cake pans, pie tins and strainers in the oven. That stuff was all moved to a chair in the living while the oven was used to bake cookies for 2 days. Now at Sue’s house you have to hide food in the Microwave so that her dogs don’t steal it.Michelle

  5. Michelle, I heartily agree with you. Those weirdos who rode last night are NUTS. My mom used to not let me go outside when the temperature was that low. I remember as a kid that there were a few winter days where I wasn’t allowed out because my mom said it was too dangerously cold. That always seemed kind of mysterious to me… What was going on outside, I’d wonder.Anyway, as an adult, you dont need to tell me twice to stay in when the weather is like that. It’s too frakking cold!! I only left the house twice and after that, I just tucked in for the day.The sun shining was a little deceptive. It made me want to go out until I actually went out and froze.

  6. We might be weirdos, but we were festive. Ernie had a minature Christmas tree, complete with lights, mounted on the back of his recumbent. Crow chose blue LED lights and I had twinkly ones. Ernie won the grand prize for his decorating job.Don made a sincere effort, but turned back after we left the parking lot and spent the rest of the time in his warm truck. So Ernie, Crow, Tony, Fred and I rode for about 5 miles. Tony had bad gloves and was trying to steer with one hand while he warmed the other. While he was switching hands, he slipped on some black ice and sprained his wrist. Fred, who was following him too closely, dodged him by skidding and then falling in an adjacent driveway.We continued on much more slowly, quickly threw all the gear in the cars when we got back to Marty’s, then went to Parrason’s on Rt. 91 in Stow for dinner. It took me about an hour of sitting and a pot of warm coffee before I stopped shivering.

  7. You know what, Bob? I’m not even jealous of that. I don’t feel one stitch of guilt for being lazy and “not quite man enough” to embark on that bike ride. Man, give it up. Now is the season for long boards attached to your boots (skis) not wheels and rubber!

  8. Zoelle & Zane have started fighting over sitting in front of the heater vent in our bathroom, which is at floor level. Since this vent is also at the base of our bathroom sink vanity, it makes it really hard to stand there now in the morning to get ready, because which ever cat has claimed the spot will not budge for our feet.

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