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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Blogger Kris said...

I love "What Not to Wear." Winter is long and hard here in Illinois so I understand how you are feeling. Enjoy this kid-less time though. I know that is easier said than done, but honestly now is the time to do things like go to the cafe and enjoy the New Yorker. Do it while you can!!! Seriously. As for writing on this site more often - I would love it if you did. I really enjoy reading your posts :)

Winters are hard for me. I've been trying to get to the park more often because that does cheer me up. I need to exercise more. Any motivation you can send my way would be great!

9:57 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Wow - this post was incredibly motivating to me this morning. We've had a rough week of freezing cold, dreary days (and nights) here and I've noticed my mood getting very blegh. I need to make a list too. Pre-child... I used to knit. A lot. Now, I'm too exhausted by the time I finish cleaning up. Maybe I need to make more time?

PS - I'd like for you to write more too!

6:52 AM  
Blogger Birdie said...

How I love lists! And this is a great one, Amy! Enjoy those casual coffee shop reading moments - that was actually my birthday present to myself this year :) And the two others that struck a chord with me: Writing a letter to grandma and cooking new recipes.

How do I get through the winter - I get outside. Every time I see a commercial for Michigan it's a reminder that winter is so lovely, too. Since I must live through it, I might as well live IN it. So I try to get out and enjoy the quietness it brings.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Pix said...

Yes, more writing please! We've been tossing around our pre-kiddo lists too, most of which center around unpleasant tasks to complete like cleaning out closets and paring down. I really love your list because you have such sweet and sentimental things like writing a letter to your grandma. And I'm in awe of the 15 miles & 1 outdoor run a week. Go!

12:41 PM  
Blogger Kellie said...

You know, having a kid has made this season much more tolerable...we HAVE to get outside almost every day, so even if it's freezing or snowing or nasty, we find ways to enjoy the outdoors (eating snow, splashing in puddles, going to the park...) Not necessarily stuff I'd have done pre-kid. I do enjoy a run outside. Somehow in the winter, when it's icy and cold, it feels empowering, like I've somehow beaten (not just braved) the elements! Sounds like you've crafted an impressive to do list. Oh, and I know you have lots of folks to turn to, but if you want opinions on baby gear, I'm happy to provide.

7:00 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

Love the term Wintervention! I, too, hate winter, but I find that forcing myself to go out in it daily helps. To that end, I justify any and all purchases that beef up my winter outergear wardrobe - great coats, hats, mittens, and boots that make me happy to brave the elements.

The only book I read about child development was Touchpoints, by T. Berry Brazelton. It's old but seems to have stood the test of time. If I dig it up and you're interested, I can mail it to you!

9:36 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

These comments are really helping my wintervention! Thank you so much, all. I love Michelle's attitude: "Since I must live through it, I might as well live IN it." I will remember that. Also, I already have three recipes lined up! They all contain beans, which John doesn't like. ;)

11:42 AM  

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