Today we had actual real weather in California. We had a night and morning of raging winds so strong even my usual Tuesday tennis was cancelled. The courts were covered with detritus and the air howled when the gusts hit.
I headed home and the internet and phone service were both down. It was so cold, I hated to leave my warm car, so I went inside grabbed a mug of green tea and went back to the car and finished listening to a public radio show in my driveway. It was cozy and warm in the car, and I thought I should really do this more often.
Later on, since I couldn’t really work or waste time checking the news, I took the opportunity to find a spot on the couch to finish the wonderful book, Wintering, I have been absorbing. This book, by Katherine May, is about embracing winters in a literal and figurative sense. We go through many winters or hard times in our lives, and like real winters, we need to slow down, do less and listen to our bodies and find healing in these times. It’s a beautifully written and descriptive book and it has me savoring these January days and giving into the impulse to stay in and stay cozy. Rather than wishing for warm weather and spring, I am instead trying to appreciate the gifts only the cold season has to offer.
I embraced this chilly day and had some old fashioned Lipton noodle soup from the box, as my mom would make for us kids on winter days. If that wasn’t in the pantry, we had egg noodles slathered with margarine… and sometimes grilled cheese sandwiches too. My mom grew up in Wisconsin, and knew how to make the most of cold days. Just that red soup box brings me back to blustery winter days eating lunch in our blue flower wallpapered kitchen overlooking the big front yard sycamore that would rattle with the storms.
After lunch, when we were small, she would make us take naps. Mom was a lifelong devotee of naps, even as a young girl and being an anxious person, I think they were a kind of meditation for her and a way to calm herself and get through the day. All my life, whenever I was tired or stressed, mom would say, ‘go get on your couch for a while and take a nap’. Most of my life, I resisted that. Today I took a nap, belly full of soup and enjoyed the coziness of hearing the storm from the warm couch under a blanket. I realized I don’t take advantage of an occasional nap on a cold winter day. I don’t make the buttered noodles enough or the soup. I vow to do it more.
What I took away from Wintering, is that we need to be kinder to ourselves and this is never more true than years like we are in now. We should use this quiet and more isolated season to take more time for reflection, sleep, winter walks in nature, pampering, enrichment, reading, crafts, cooking and whatever fills our tanks. The new body, fitter self and perfect home and wardrobe is not what is going to bring us joy. It’s the parts of each day that we fully live in the moment that will help us get through this next part of the pandemic and the strife of now.
If you want a balm for the times we are in, I love Katherine’s book. It’s a little history, part healing and encouragement, as all of us have a winter of some kind in our lives. She reminds us it’s cyclical and we go through rough patches many times throughout life and become stronger because of them.
Also, I will add, that we should listen to our moms and take more naps and enjoy soup or butter noodle days when we need a little cocooning.
Annie Diamond says
Kim, this is so beautiful! Maybe have those buttered noodles today while we get cozy and watch the inauguration! I will listen to this book….wished I had it for my recent drive to Syracuse. I didn’t know your mom was from Wisconsin…she knew how to winter and I love that chicken soup and buttered noodles are pantry staples, what a sweet way to remember your mom!
Annie, Buttered noodles are so good on days like today! Oh I bet this would be a great book to listen to on a long drive. Wisconsin is pretty unique. I wish I had gotten more chances to be there. Your notes always are so kind. xo
Paula Moreshead says
My background and growing up years occurred in the deep south, so an actual wintering experience is a different experience from yours in Wisconson. But, I can appreciate the concept of slowing down and the seasonal aspect of life as we age. And, my mom also served us the chicken noodle cup of soup, and I am so thankful that she gave me “permission” to take an actual nap which I have religiously done for many years! This book sounds wonderful!
Paula, I love your mom gave you permission to take naps too. I do think they may contribute to a healthier life! I hope you get to enjoy the book.xo
Linda Henderson says
Loved this post. Thank you for your suggestions and lovely photos.
LA CONTESSA says
I have been LIVING this book these last few years with my episodes.It is HARD to SLOW down but can be done when the BODY SAYS NO MORE!
Naps were part of my daily routine but have gotten out of the habit since LOCKDOWN.
Butter Noodles and a little PARMESAN cheese was a STAPLE of my ITALIANS CHILDHOOD!
I LOOK FORWARD TO READING THIS BOOK!
THAT FIRST PHOTO of YOU in TAHOE is MAGICAL………..a dear friends daughter got engaged this past weekend up THERE!YOU didn’t happen to see a young couple and He down on one knee did YOU?They took a walk on a beach and he proposed there!
Question for YOU!
ARE YOUR BOYS LISTENING TO YOU?
Sometimes I get little glimpses of (OH MY GOSH THEY LISTENED TO ME!!!)
Nothing makes a MOTHER MORE HAPPY I THINK!
CONGRATULATIONS ON TODAY I feel a TENSION HAS RELEASED FROM MY BODY!!!
YOU WERE SO GOOD AT STAYING FOCUSED ON ALL THAT WAS TAKING PLACE….I applaud YOU DEAR GIRLFRIEND!
Elizabeth, I know you listen and slow down, it’s got to be better for you when you’re under the weather as you have been. Maybe naps might be good to try occasionally? I do think we’ve been under so much strain this year- pandemic and politic wise it adds to it all. I love that your Italian grew up with buttered noodles! My mother’s mom (grandma) was Lithuanian and they made a lot of buttered boodles, though I don’t know if it was a cultural thing or a Wisconsin thing.. I did not see a couple getting engaged. It was a perfect weekend for it for sure.. Just gorgeous up there. I wish them well. As far as my boys listening, they will never admit it, but there are times when they do something or repeat back something and that makes me so happy, but I’ll never say I told them! I do think as a mom we just have to keep up the messaging and hope some gets in. As far as the election, I can finally breathe!! Thanks it’s been a long four years. You’ve been there with me the whole time. xo
Sheila in SF says
I have read a few books while in Covid and all the recommendations came from blogs or Instagram. Thanks for this book recommendation–need to read it.
Thanks Sheila and I hope you enjoy it as I did.
I just loved this post Kim! So beautifully written that it left me feeling all cosseted and cosy! 🤗 I especially appreciated the paragraph beginning “What I took away from Wintering …. “ so true…
Your mum gave such good advice with regard to naps …. so important for our general well-being. Even if we don’t actually sleep, just snuggling under a blanket and really relaxing can leave use feeling chilled and well rested.
Especially with some comforting “childhood food” Mine is cream of tomato soup, creamy rice pudding or hot chocolate made with full cream milk …. maybe accompanied by some shortbread or oat type biscuits!
I take your mums advice at certain times and have encouraged family to do the same. My mum was good with caring and the comfort food when we were unwell but definitely didn’t encourage naps 😂 The only time for sleep was at night in bed! lol . She was always on the go.
She did say to me on occasions when she was being reflective, that she wished she could have been more like me and relaxed more …. I vividly remember the first time I took her a glass of wine to have in the bath before going out one evening. She was shocked but laughed and really enjoyed it!
I hope your weathers a little better today Kim and how wonderful yesterday was!
Hi Rosemary! I knew you’d appreciate the talk about wintering! You are right, you need not sleep to get something out of a nap- just the relaxation is good for us! Those are yummy childhood foods. It’s making me want a hot chocolate! Your mum sounds like she was a go getter. I guess we are hard-wired the way we are, but yes I think we can all do with a bit of slowing down if we’d only give ourselves permission. How great you brought your mum that wine. Sweet story. Thanks for the kind note! This week has been wonderful! I am feeling so much hope. xoxo
Well I finally got around to reading this post after catching up on everything else I needed to do due to the long power outage! I read this book by book- light during the cold dark nights. Nothing could have been more appropriate. I especially appreciated what Katherine wrote about waking during the night, and since that’s been my (unwelcome) habit forever I finally have found a way to embrace it and suddenly it doesn’t seem so bad anymore!
I like your mom’s advice about taking naps, my mom always took one and I try whenever I have the chance, if only to put my feet up and close my eyes for 20 minutes. That’s all it takes for me to feel a bit of a recharge. If I have a cup of tea right before I’ll feel the effects when I get up and feel refreshed and ready for the rest of the day. It’s right about that time this afternoon and I hear my nap spot calling….
Buttered noodles are probably my favorite comfort food, macaroni and cheese a close second! I found tasty gluten free noodles and am thrilled to be able to eat this treat again!
Kim you are so right about slowing down and taking good care of ourselves. I feel I’ve been making up for 4 years of stress and have never slept so many hours at once as I have in the last three nights! I guess I am slowly recovering from a bad, bad, bad nightmare!! I feel very hopeful, and much relieved that we all got through the inauguration without a hiccup or worse.
Your posts are always so thoughtful and well written. Good job you!!
Heidi you are very kind! I was very excited about this book though. I agree with you about her chapter on sleep. Knowing that it’s maybe part of what we are supposed to be doing and some hours of semi-awareness is not all bad and lowers the anxiety about the quality of sleep! Glad to know you love naps too. I love the idea of having tea and then wake up refreshed. I love buttered noodles.. I have to look for gluten free.
Heidi I am so glad you are okay and your power is back up! I have been feeling way less stress now that Trump is gone. Just knowing adults are managing things and caring about this pandemic and actually working on it is a huge relief. I know we weren’t the only ones who feel this way. Hope your weekend is great. xoxo