The Starks Were Right. Winter is Coming!

For those of you who did not catch the reference, the Stark family of The Song of Fire and Ice series (see my post here) live in the far North and their family motto is “Winter is Coming.”  While we can take that literally and assume that with a general change of seasons, Winter is inevitable, we can also take it to mean “Life may seem good, but it won’t last.”

I, for today, am going to create a third interpretation of this phrase, meaning

Winteriscomingthankgoodnessmissedyousomuch!”

Over the past 24 hours, we have received a minimum of 8″ of snow and I couldn’t be happier.  Not only does snow open up a world of fun and frosty things to do, but it also gives me a SNOW DAY to do them.  That was so considerate of Mother Nature.  Thank you darling.

I am working on building a list of fun wintry adventures and tasks so that the next time Winter decides to stop by and say “Hello,” I don’t spend the first part of that visit trying to sort through all of the potential epic ways to spend a snow day.  Yes, snow. day.  Did I mention I had one?  Be jealous.

Here is my list so far.  Add your own ideas in the comments!

Snow Day List of Magic and Wonder

    • Take a moment and feel badly for all of the birds that came back up North early because they thought it must be Spring, with with the high temperature, thunderstorms, and budding flowers.
    • Make some soup or other warming, happy food.  I had grand plans involving turkey chile, but then I tried to leave my garage.  I love seeing a 3 foot wall of snow plowed up in my driveway.  My car is strong, but not that strong.  I decided to wait for someone to come alone to take care of that for me and I had some stuff my my pantry instead.  Not nearly as exciting as this, this, or this.  At this point, I am completely able to leave my garage and get some groceries, but that motivation has somehow vanished.  Next time, I will get food before the storm hits.  Ahhh life lessons.
    • Plan a trip to somewhere nice and warm!  Nothing makes you feel toastier than sitting inside under a blanket as the snow sleepily falls outside your window.  Even if you don’t actually book anything, you can dream, right?! Imagine those trips to Brazil or the South of France.  Thinking about it will cost you nothing, but bring you lots of happiness.  Try it!  Picture yourself here:

Don’t you feel so much better now?

    • Hot beverages people.  Coffee, tea, hot cocoa, hot apple cider, anything that contains the word “mulled.”  These will make your day cozy, sugar- and caffeine-filled, in wonderful.  This is even better if accompanied by a cookie.
    • A cookie warm from the oven.  Yes please!  I am better most of you have the baking supplies in your pantry to make this, or this, or this, in the comfort of your own home.

    • Snowpeople– One day, you might get lucky, find a magic hat, and meet Frosty.  You never know.  Keep living the dream.
    • Read a book!  For some crazy reason, this was not in my original list.  Fortunately, Sheila and Danielle reminded me 🙂   I spent some of my time working on one of the installments of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.  Five books down, only about thirty to go!  They are hil-air-eeee-ous.
    • Catch up on your work.  This is what I spent most of the day doing.  Lame, right?  Except I feel so much better and am breathing sighs of relief instead of sighs of exhaustion or stress.  I’m betting it was worth it then 🙂
    • Update Your Blog:  Because we are cool like that, yo.

What would you add to my Snow Day List of Magic and Wonder? I will add your suggestions in as I see them!

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Come Join Me @ a Site Full of Magic and Wonder

I mean Paperback Swap.

It is amazing.  Like, if I had to choose between this site and a mountain constructed of pizza, I would have a serious crisis on my hands.

It is basically a giant, online book club.  Members post books they don’t want anymore and when someone requests the book, they mail it to them.  For every book that I send out, I receive one credit.  One credit= one book.  I can then take my credit, look at the available books, and request one from anyone.

The credits never expire.  If you are fan of rollover minutes (I would be a fan if my plan included rollover minutes), you will like this.  A hoarder by nature, I get some sort of strange thrill racking up the credits and then lying in wait for the book I want to pop up.

One of my favorite features is the Wish List.  You can choose any book you like (that is not available at the time), and put it on your wishlist.  You become part of a queue of people who wish for this book and once you get to the front of the line, you have first dibs.  That way, you don’t have to check daily for books you may desire.

This is different from the library because you actually get to keep the book.  At the same time, you spend very little money on the book.  Really, you have to pay the shipping cost for the book, about $3.00 for a normal-sized book.

Not a bad deal!

Pros

  • Cheap books  that you want
  • The books are in good shape
  • Get rid of books you don’t need/want anymore

Cons

  • Sometimes it takes a while to get the book
  • Not all of the books that you want will be readily available (patience is a virtue)

I am telling you about this because I really enjoy it as a service and it allows me to clean out my book collection while earning other books.  I get nothing from it.  If you want though, and you join (or have joined), you can be friends with me!

My username is veryhungrybookworm.  Look me up once you are on the site to see my profile, posted books and wishlists 🙂

Where Did I Go?

You know how people say that you are actually more productive when you are already busy?  I think at points that may be true for me when it comes to writing.  When my life is so jam-packed that I can’t even think straight, writing relieves me worries.  When glorious summer hits and I am free as a bird, the idea of spending one more minute than necessary inside is downright disturbing.

Instead of writing, reading other posts, or commenting, I spent this past week with the intention of having as much fun as possible.  This included…

playing golf*bring food to a family potluck*swimming*adventuring to one of my favorite restaurants*packing a picnic in my recently acquired picnic basket*eating said picnic with one of my best friends out on the lawn in a state park*watching a funny movie*wandering through a rose garden and trying out my photography skills*getting my nails done by someone other than myself*watching reruns of Clarissa Explains it All and Doug*taking advantage of the Borders going-out-of-business-sales (sob)*watching a movie that was so bad it was funny*running as the sun came up*jumping in puddles*driving several hours hours to go to a zoo to meet a friend who I see so rarely, I tend to think she’s imaginary*reading a book in less than 24 hours*getting lost looking for a cupcake store*watching horsies run really fast*spontaneous night picnics involving ice cream* and more!

In case you’re worried that I haven’t been reading, don’t be!  Here are some posts you can expect from me in the very near future:

  • What is the best summer read?  Take the poll if you haven’t already!  It closes on Wednesday.
  • Picnics, The Very Hungry Bookworm style
  • Room by Emma Donoghue- WOW
  • The beauty of Paperback Swap
  • 10-word reviews of some books that have slipped through the cracks

While you wait, enjoy the sun!  Go outside and run around or jump in puddles or build a sand castle or yeah, you get my point 🙂

My War with the Roses: How I Find the Strength to Carry On

I haven’t been feeling well lately.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been waging a war.  A war of epic proportions between me and the pollen that flowers seem to insist on producing. 

You see that flower?  Yeah, you may think that it is pretty or something, but deep down is a malevolent spirit. 

These flowers (and trees and bushes) seem intent on disrupting my sleep and inhibiting my breathing.  Like any intelligent enemy, they are not attacking me head-on, but chipping away at my defenses.  A sleep-deprived, weary eyed, wheezing enemy is much easier to handle than one who has full night’s of sleep and is consistently breathing in the amount of air she actually needs. 

Fortunately, I am wiley as well and have a gameplan to beat back this force of nature.  I’m waiting it out.  The flowers can only bloom for so long.  In a week or maybe two, I will prevail! 

I just have to make it that long.

While I am forging ahead,  I have a few basic and commonsense strategies to keep my body from giving in. 

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Mother Nature, I Forgive You

Dear Mother Nature,

I know that we have had our ups and downs. 

Since I live in the Northeast, you are not often kind to me.  Instead of dividing the seasons up into four equal parts, you like to freeze us for months on end.  If it were straight cold, I think I could take it.  My problem is how you toy with me. 

When the rest of the world seems to be relishing in Springtime, you promise me snow, ice and bitter winds.  When it seems like I can’t take another day of icy temperatures, you reward me with a day (or even a couple of days) of above freezing weather.  After these interminable winters, 40 degrees Fahrenheit seems downright balmy! 

But then you pull the switch.  Away goes the balmy weather and sleet returns.  The monotonous grey clouds obscure the sun and any blue sky that was with it. 

You use manipulation and torture techniques that would be labelled as war crimes in a civilized society.  You give the prisoner hope and take it away.  Again and Again.  To prove your power over that victim, you break her spirit…just because you can. 

In the midst of the blizzards and biting cold, I feel anger.  Anger at you, anger at myself, anger at the world that still continues to turn in spite of this weather that threatens to lock it in place.

But, now… now with the sun shining through the window and the cute little birds hopping from tree to tree outside my window, I am feeling a bigger emotion- forgiveness. 

I forgive you, Mother Nature, for putting us through this past Winter because, without that misery, I would not find so much joy in my beautiful surroundings right now.  I understand that it must be fun, with the amount of power you have, to play with our emotions.  Would any of us, given that same opportunity, do otherwise?

Perhaps the biggest reason that I forgive you is that you may put us through hell, but you reward us with, well, this.

Thanks Mother Nature.  I may say some pretty mean things to you come November, but know that I can’t hold a grudge when you make it up to me in so splendid a way.

Love,

The Very Hungry Bookworm

Continue for recipe

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Five Ways to Make It Through Cooker’s Block

Writer’s block is normal.  After all, sometimes you just don’t have anything to say.  Or, you have something to say, but you aren’t sure how to say it.  Not to mention, often when you are writing, you wonder if anyone will ever even read these words that you have agonized over.  You send these little word presents into the void of “someday I will be an author” and rarely see any return.  This can totally lead to discouragement and writer’s block.

If you suffer from Cooker's Block, eating your computer is not the way to go.

Cooker’s block, on the other hand, is a little-known, but widespread malady that we must all, at some point, suffer through.

After all, we all need to eat, right?  To me, this means that we all need to cook.  Sometimes, we just don’t want to. 

Well, this week was my week of cooker’s block. 

To say that it was a busy week would be an understatement, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse.  I may sound like my students on this one, but frankly, I didn’t feel like it.  I like food and all, but I didn’t feel like planning a meal, getting to the grocery store, preparing something, and then washing the dishes.  Too. much. effort. 

So, instead of offering you some sort of delightful, happy, wonderful dish or dessert this week, I am offering you this advice instead: Five ways to survive a work week of cooker’s block. 

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Read This If You Want to Save a Life

…of a book, that is.

You see, I do not normally subscribe to the “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” mentality.  I have enough stuff as it is.  I certainly do not need to go picking through trash to find more stuff that “might be useful someday.”

Of course, there is an exception to every rule and that exception smacked me in the face this past week.

I live in an apartment complex so you can imagine that around the end of each month, new and interesting items start to accumulate around our trash and recycling area.  People are moving and they start to make the tough choices.

“Do I really need this?”

“Do I want this enough to carry it?”

“Will I have room?”

Having moved around several times, I understand and support the process of ridding yourself of these unnecessary items.  Really, if you don’t care enough about it to carry it to your new place, it probably doesn’t need to be taking up room and collecting dust.

I do have a problem, however, when you choose to throw away perfectly good items instead of finding a good home for them.

You see, as reluctant as I am to accumulate new “stuff,” I have an equally difficult time letting go of the things that I have.  Being rather sentimental and possessing an uncontrollable imagination, I never have the heart to leave still-useful items in the trash.  I hear their pitiful little voices calling out going, “Why am I in the trash?  Do you not love me anymore?

Blame it on watching The Brave Little Toaster a few too many times as a child.

Well, upon bringing out recycling the other day, a discovery was made- a discovery so monumental that I ended up with two full boxes lugged up to my apartment,

Books.

Beautiful, wonderful, crisp, and still new-smelling books.

It was like Christmas.

While I was revelling in my new treasures (which included the entire works of Jane Austen and Shakespeare, travel guides to places that I want to go, and many other very happy discoveries), I became rather angry.

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