The Great Recuperation + Winter Fun

This has been a pretty low-key week. There’s plenty going on, but just normal life. I don’t have anything huge I’m planning at the moment. No move. No book launch. No gift organization for five children. No international trip. I mean, I guess I need to be signing kids up for camp but I’m not going to feel stressed about that.

(Though I did get an email from a camp some kids always attend for a week or two that their early bird discount is ending this weekend, so my frugal nature will likely demand I get going on that.)

Anyway, it feels pretty chill. I’ve started on my new 2023 projects. I have read about 65 pages in Jane Austen’s juvenalia. There are lots of epistolary short stories, little farcical vignettes and the like. I’ve been sort of realizing the magnitude of my 2022 Shakespeare project (I read all his plays + sonnets + shorter works) as I’m doing a 1000-piece puzzle I got for Christmas featuring Shakespearean insults. The border has a list of all his plays and as I put each piece in I’ve been thinking about what happened in each. Some are memorable (Richard III) and some are less memorable (Richard II — I know it starts the Henry IV and Henry V tetralogy; still I had to go back and recall what went on…) but it’s been a nice way to rethink them all.

I’m also 12 lines into my first sonnet. Writing 2 lines a day is a very doable way to do this. I’m glad I chose this as my writing project for the year.

I’ve been reading through 2022’s writing project (when I wrote 100-200 words per day recounting a single day in the life of a character). My pacing was off at the beginning. I think I’m at roughly 2:30 p.m. by 80 days in, and I was zipping around a lot in those first 80 entries. Then I settled into a pacing that was more appropriate for 365 days. Or 364 — I numbered the entries and the last one is 364 so I either forgot a day (but didn’t notice that I forgot!) or I mis-numbered somewhere. I guess I’ll find out.

My blog calendar for this week calls for me to write about my Winter Fun List. But I’m kind of struggling with this. Maybe it’s because I’m still in the midst of my grand recuperation post-Christmas, or maybe it’s because the weather has been unseasonably warm. So I’ve been going outside as much as I can. If you have Winter Fun List activities planned, I’d love to hear about them! My current contenders are pretty low key. I plan to turn on the gas fireplace in my office frequently. I plan to use my hand warmers whenever I go outside for any length of time and it’s cold out. I bought a giant box of them but I tend to have the mindset of saving things for special occasions rather than using them up. So my goal is to use them. I’ll go sledding in my yard when it snows. Other than that…

This week I was quoted in a fun NY Mag article on one writer’s attempts to learn to be on time. Punctuality is a skill like any other. It can be developed with practice! Also, stop telling yourself you have time to empty the dishwasher before you leave…

I was a guest on Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast, talking about how to schedule your day for peak enjoyment. I was also a guest on Laura Szaro Kopinski’s podcast, A Bookish Home, talking all things Tranquility by Tuesday. These are both great shows, so please give them a listen!

And if, after all that, you still want more of my voice, you can listen to some of this week’s Before Breakfast episodes. I talked about how you should “Start a reading project,” and that before you leave the workforce, you should consider that “Maybe it’s just your job” (there might be something better out there). I also encouraged people to “See where the time really goes” by signing up for the 2023 Time-Tracking Challenge. We’ve got about 3500 people signed up currently. That’s a lot of moral support! Why not join us to see where the time really goes? (That link goes to the sign up form.) People who do the challenge also have the completely voluntary option to participate in some of my time use/time satisfaction research. I’m looking forward to seeing what that turns up! I’ll be posting my logs here next week.

Photo: The Shakespearean insults puzzle. This will likely feature prominently on my time logs next week.

14 thoughts on “The Great Recuperation + Winter Fun

  1. My winter fun list so far:
    -go to at least one ice event (ice castle, place, maze, sculptures, bar, etc)
    -watch the dog skijor races that go by near my house
    -see a frozen waterfall
    -go ice skating
    -try out curling! There is a free event nearby, so that would be a good opportunity
    -go skiing
    -drink mulled cider

  2. Happy New Year, Laura!

    Our winter fun list (which, if I’m being honest, isn’t always super “fun” for me as the parent organizing things) would normally include sledding, skating on a nearby pond, downhill skiing, and making snowmen. But we have no snow!! I have to admit…I’m loving the ease of getting through winter without snow so far, though both my kids were lamenting about the lack of white stuff just this morning.
    I was looking back at my One Line A Day Journal entries from this time last year and I was wrangling kids and playmates into skates at a local pond – this year, it’s completely open without even the tiniest hint of ice!

    In the coming months I genuinely look forward to:
    – making ice wreaths (so fun; just grab natural materials from out of doors, pour them + water into a bundt pan, freeze, and then unmold and hang with a ribbon outside – beautiful and all the materials should be organic anyway).
    – going on a trip to Rome with my husband
    – taking the kids to an overnight hotel stay
    – going sledding
    – an evening walk (after dark) through snowy streets
    – sipping a hot beverage by the fireplace
    – lots of low-key evenings at home with twinkle lights on
    – like Jessica, we enjoy visiting frozen waterfalls and have a go-to location we try to visit each year
    – lighting candles at supper; my 8-year-old is obsessed with this and I have to admit it really makes our evening meals so much cozier

    1. @SHU – more a rough sense of when things should go, and I come up with topical posts ahead of time….

  3. Did I hear or read you saying somewhere that you’re doing a Tranquility by Tuesday challenge at the end of January? Or did I make that up? I read the book, loved it, and have recommended it to a few friends. Would really love to do the challenge.

    1. @Sara- yes I am! It starts January 20th. I’ll post more links/posts about it the week before it starts, but basically, you get an email each Friday talking about the rule + questions to answer. I will write about the rule on the blog each week and encourage people to try it out. On Thursday you get an email with reflection questions. Glad to hear you’re interested! Hopefully it will be well subscribed…

  4. Our winter is the exact opposite of yours. It was bitterly cold and now we have an insane amount of snow. We’ve basically gotten the amount of snow we typically get in a season already! It is pretty but when you live in an urban area like we do, it is really challenging as we are running out of places to put the snow, especially on our steps. But the temperature is very mild so overall I can’t complain. We were outside 3 different times on Wednesday when we were snowed in. The toddler went sledding and then I built them a snowman and made some paths through the yard so they could play in the snow. We kind of have too much snow for my kids’ ages – it is so deep! Probably 20″+!! We will do a ton of sledding but don’t have much else planned. There are some ice castle/mazes in the area that I would like to check out but I haven’t come up with any ideas besides that. And I’m hosting an adventurous friend over my birthday weekend and she wanted to do a 10k snowshoe race that she found when searching for races. I don’t envision it being a “race” – more like a pretty walk through nature in snowshoes. I can’t fathom running in snowshoes!!

    1. @Lisa – that sounds like it would be more of a workout than I would want (running in snow shoes…in 20 inches of snow…yikes!)

  5. You inspired me to start a reading project this year! I’m going to read all 6 volumes of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. If I read 12-13 pages a day I should be able to get through all of it by the end of the year. So far, I’m really enjoying it, so thanks for the inspiration!

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