Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

In Wisconsin we know about winter. We know about snow, and ice and sleet and frigid temps. You can’t really fight winter any more than you can fight your need for oxygen or water. But, this winter? The winter we’re in now? This winter here is on our last nerve.

We signed up to live in Wisconsin, not the North Pole. And there IS a difference. In Wisconsin we know that 15 degrees below zero happens…once in a while. We’re prepared for that. We’re not prepared for that to happen EVERY GOSH DANG DAY. Wow. I guess I’m angrier than I thought. I apologize for the language.

I’m not being very positive, am I? You probably haven’t forgotten that I said I was going to employ positive thoughts in my life. Why do people have to have such good memories? I think I said some dumb thing like positive thoughts can actually make you more positive. I know. That’s a jacked up theory. But, they say it works. I’ll keep trying.

For the sake of tricking myself in to feeling positive, I want to tell you that winter is AWESOME!!! Especially this winter we’re in right now. Especially with temperatures that look like this:

Wisconsin weather map

I wish we could figure out how to have temperatures like this all year long. They. Are. Glorious. Too much? Here are a few of my favorite things about Wisconsin winters:

Maximum coverage – The last time I went shopping for shorts I realized that there’s something wrong with shorts these days: My legs. Yeah, that’s definitely what’s wrong with them. We’re not even going to talk about swimsuits. Don’t. Just, don’t.

I bought this new coat that is like a sleeping bag with arms and a hole for your head. I’ve seen lots of other women around here wearing these coats too. They’re warm. And more importantly they’re forgiving. My favorite quality in clothing. I have a generic version of this:

winter coat

You can throw on crazy hats when it’s this cold too. My sister-in-law gave me this hat. I get compliments when I wear it. Thanks mom! I think you look nice too.

hat

Wow. I never actually have seen myself in that hat. It looked better in my imagination; a little more quirky-bohemian; a little less giant-bowling-ball-with-flower attached. I guess I need a new hat.

The idea is still there though. In these temperatures you can have bad hair and be carrying around a few more pounds than you’d like. Mr. Winter is kind. He says, “That’s okay. I got you covered. Literally.” That’s why winter and I are becoming friends.

Laziness is socially acceptable

I have a lot of “Type A” friends, do you? I thought we agreed to get rid of them, but there they are, too ambitious to take a hint. They say things like, “I just can’t go to bed at night until the kitchen is clean.” Or, “I haven’t sat through a movie in years. Who could possibly sit still that long?”

I can. I can sit still a really, really, really long time. I might be the best you’ve ever seen at sitting still. But, I don’t tell my “Type A” friends that. I just nod my head like I understand. Sometimes I lie. I say, “I know what you mean. What a waste of time. Who would even want to lay around all day like that? I’d just feel so gross.”

I don’t know why it’s so easy for me to be lazy, but it is. I’m just a natural at it. My mom says that when I was a baby I was happy to lay in my crib. I didn’t fuss and cry like my sisters. My mom fooled herself in to thinking she had a good baby. What she had was a lazy baby. A lazy baby that would turn into a lazy adult. I fight it every day. When it is 20 below zero, no one expects you to fight it. Spending three hours reading your Kindle Paperwhite, and watching back to back “Lifetime” movies featuring murderous nannies is a perfectly acceptable alternative to hypothermia.

It’s not like all that laying around is fun and games. I’m learning things. Things you need to know: like I know now that you should NEVER, I mean NEVER, trust your nanny. When you’re at work she will be going through your closet and trying on your clothes. She will be smelling your husbands pillow, and she will be taking a scissors and cutting you out of the family picture. Don’t worry, she’ll paste a nice picture of herself where you once stood. I know. I know. That’s sick, but those are facts. You just need to know it.

You should also know that if you decide to walk in a parking garage alone, that’s on your naive head. I hope you can run fast, and I hope you can out run that car; it is about to chase you down. Maybe you’d know how to protect yourself, and I wouldn’t have to hand out all these warnings if you’d do a little less kitchen cleaning and a little more TV watching. Have you ever thought of that?

Freezing cold, lazy days beat those annoying warm, sunny days; on those sunny days people expect you to move.

Watching Wrestling

You probably thought my list of winter highlights would include silly things like skiing and ice skating. The kind of winter we’re having in Wisconsin this year doesn’t even make those activities sound fun. Otherwise (*Full disclosure. See above. Sometimes I lie.) I would totally be hitting the slopes and lacing up the skates every chance I got. Dang you, frigid temps. Must you curse me?

In my house we like to spend winter sitting in cozy gyms, curled up to wrestling mats. I spend my winter watching other people exercise. Wrestling is my favorite. Here’s the team I follow:

sauk pr wrestlers

Facing my Fears

When I was 16 I was in two car accidents. Both of those accidents were due to careless driving on snowy roads. One time I was the driver, another time it was a friend. I have not been in any accidents since that time. I tend to learn my lessons.

Sadly, I learned my lessons so well that for years the thought of driving in snow left me feeling paralyzed with fear. I avoided it. I didn’t just avoid driving in snow storms. I avoided driving if I saw a single flake of snow, or even a piece of paper that looked like a flake of snow. Now I commute an hour each day. This is what I often see:

SnowDriving1

The other day I heard a forecaster on the radio say that sometimes the weather is at its worst during peak commuting hours. She said in Madison, WI that only happens twice a day.

You can only come up with so many busted pipes, puking kids and flat tire excuses for not coming in to work on snowy days. Eventually your boss becomes suspicious. You realize you have to choose between driving on snowy roads or unemployment. I chose to stay employed. Now I know what they say is true. The best way to not be afraid of something is to make yourself do it. Make yourself do it a lot.

I still don’t like driving during snowstorms, but I’m not afraid any more, and I actually think I’m kind of okay at it. I think that because of all the other cars I’ve passed over the years that are in the ditch. I’m pretty sure most of those cars are driven by 16-year-olds, or people who haven’t learned that the rules change when you’re driving in a snowstorm, or someone who has been hit by either of the above.

Venti Cafe Americano…room for cream

You got me. This is a repeat. I’ve told you before how much I like my Cafe Americano. Many years ago I remember Scott saying to me, “Pretzels make my life better.” Scott is a man of few words. He does not make extreme statements and rarely verbalizes his emotions. Apparently, pretzels are what it takes for him to break down the barriers. That was an amazingly passionate thing form him to say about hard baked flour, oil and salt. I thought, we’d better never run out of pretzels, or this guy is going to sink into a pit of despair.

I made fun, but now I know what he meant. Cafe Americanos make my life better. It tastes good, but I also have a psychological dependence. In the winter you can drink Americanos every day, because they keep you warm. I’ll have to think of another excuse as to why I drink them every day in the summer.

That’s a weak list. I admit it. I’m doing my best. Next week I may blog about all the things I love about root canals without anesthesia.

Do you feel better about winter now? I don’t. I mean, do. I do, I definitely do think winter is awesome. Do you?

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Comments on: "You WISH you Lived in Wisconsin!" (3)

  1. Okay, Miki, I’m going to give you what I read first-thing this morning (I didn’t get a sub call—yaaay! Working on Valentines!). It’s from my Oswald Chambers’ flip calendar, and it convicted me (yes, I know that’s what you wanted from me today, right?! ;):
    “Is Your Ability to See God Blinded? ‘ Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things…” Isaiah 40:26. If we are children of God, we have a tremendous treasure in nature and will realize that it is holy and sacred. We will see God reaching out to us in every wind that blows, every sunrise and sunset, every cloud in the sky, every flower that blooms, and every leaf that fades.”

    Yes, I did notice that this mini-devo did NOT mention every snowflake, every patch of shiny (and/or black) ice, every breath coming out of our carefully swathed faces!! But still….

    I’m not trying to be one of your type A’s (oh, but I guess I often am, huh?!), but Oswald (Dale affectionately calls him “Oddball”) has a way of setting me straight in the morning when I lean over to look above my microwave (where this flip calendar sits). This morning was no different!

    You have my sympathies for having such a long commute–mine is, at the most, 20 minutes to Mazo one way. So, I do feel for you…and statistically, that does give one more chance to have a driving mishap/etc. which you seem to be not having which is very good!!

    But I’m just trying to be encouraging to you–and me–that God is always right there encouraging us to buck up–and appreciate it all– because He’s the author of every single weather phenomenon–which you already know and–and He’s got His heavenly reasons…

    Here’s a couple of them.

    A long bunch of years ago when Lucas was at the beginning of his “escape from Wisconsin” odyssey, we discussed the effect that Wisconsin winters might have on its residents. Lucas and I theorized that the harsh winters may promote the building of character in people.

    Think about this: in Florida, one only has to occasionally grab something warmer than a sweater (well, lately, that’s not true as their weather has been pretty cold for them, too!). They don’t have to think about cleaning off their vehicles (well, maybe tropical bird poop) or looking forward to a mushy commute (although I was very fearful of reckless Florida drivers–probably comes from reckless abandonment linked to warmer weather!!!).

    You get the idea, although I can just imagine your saying that you’d trade ours for theirs!!
    But, really, Lucas thinks mid-Westerners are so much nicer (and San Francisco Jo has said the same thing!!)–and who knows but the survival necessity of winter may be building that into us because we are “broken down” a lot during the winters.

    We, of course, can choose to be broken down in anger or learn to humorously bear up–as you have been doing in today’s blog!!

    The other reason has to do with our passion for the change of the seasons. Yes, some could give that a psychologically oriented label, like depression yielding to unnatural euphoria.

    Still–and I incorporated this thought into several of my Valentine poems (yeah, I really enjoy doing that sort of thing…;p) the contrast of our harsh winters makes the onset of spring so incredibly glorious that it seems designed to sharpen our appreciation of our other three seasons!

    I suppose warm-weather inhabitants would scoff at the above analyses, and they might say that I’m just rationalizing to help me get through these Wisconsin winters. Well, so be it…

    In the final analysis, I hope you see that I haven’t really been finger-pointing at you at all–just doing a “blog back at ya” partly because I’m too busy to start my own right now and partly because I have never–often sadly–been a woman of few words!!!

    xoxox-E. 🙂

  2. I can just hear my kids saying, “What could be more pathetic than leaving a reply to your own comment?”

    Oh, wait, they HAVE said that before because I HAVE done this before.

    At least I’m consistent…

    My reply to my comment is that when I said I was giving reasons that God gives us winter, it sounded like I knew these were God’s reasons.

    Perhaps it goes without saying that I DON’T know if these are God’s reasons, but I just wanted to clarify that my conceit isn’t all that obvious!! 😉

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