The Purple of Life

She told me to hold on to the purple in my life.

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Location: Chicago, United States

I'm a 37-year-old editor and city dweller, wife and mother, moderately liberal and radically optimistic. I would fill my perfect day with a cup of coffee and the Op Ed section, a flea market and the playground, a run along Lake Michigan, a walk through the neighborhood with my son and my greyhound, a Cuban dinner and a bottle of red with my husband, and an evening flight to some European city. I wouldn't be picky about which one.

January 17, 2011


So, winter, we meet again. Here you are, with your salty sidewalks and broken snow shovel and thick, opaque layer of darkness, fully cloaking us before 5 p.m. Tax season has begun, and while John is at work until 9:30 p.m., I’m watching DVRed episodes of What Not to Wear and struggling not to eat eight pieces of dark chocolate while the dog stares at me reproachfully.

In the winter it is so dark in Chicago, so early.

I wrote about this a little last year, and this year I’m determined to not bemoan this season (um, despite the opening paragraph of this entry, I mean). I do not live in Antarctica. Just because it’s dark doesn’t mean I can’t go places and do things. And in this last winter before parenthood, I have a measure of freedom that won’t come again for a long, long time.

Hence, the Wintervention.

I’m putting together this to-do list to consult when I start looking at the sweatpants and the candy jar too often. When I feel sorry for myself because I miss the sunshine and the farmers’ market and long runs under green trees. To everything there is a season, even this one.

The list:

--Research baby gear: strollers, diapers, cribs, children’s books. (I just bought a copy of Baby Bargains to help get started.)
--Relax after work with a book without feeling vaguely guilty that I should be doing something more “productive.”
--Write a letter to my grandma.
--Go to the café around the corner and sit in the cozy warm light with The New Yorker and a chai.
--Work out five days per week, a mix of running and strength training/recumbent biking. Aim for running close to 15 miles a week. Run outside every weekend, no matter how cold it is—being outside in that quiet stillness along the lake is incredibly therapeutic.
--Read about attachment.
--Try cooking five new recipes (and relish the freedom of choosing ones that don’t have to appeal to both of us).
--Put my Italy photos and souvenirs in a scrapbook.
--Attend at least one literary reading.
--Plan a weekend getaway in New York City after tax season.
--Read about around-twelve-months-old children. Seriously, I do not know all that much about them.
--Collect ideas for decorating the nursery.
--Start a list of non-children-friendly restaurants to visit or revisit before we are three.
--Oh, hey! Write here on this site.
--When all else fails, start organizing the closets. We’ve been here just over a year but somehow, maddeningly, they already need it.

If winters are hard for you, how do you get through?

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