|The Pylons at VT in a dusting of snow|
It’s barely the beginning of November, and I am already feeling the onset of winter. Blacksburg’s weather is usually unpredictable, but this kind of weather this early is crazy. Hurricane Sandy definitely kept us on our toes. Snow and 30-degree temperatures are not typical quite yet, anywhere, not just in Blacksburg.
I’m not a fan of winter; I never have been. I don’t handle cold very well, or even at all. I’m (originally) from the south…cold isn’t my cup of tea. However, there are some things I do enjoy about wintertime that don’t involve throwing snowballs or playing on ice. So with that said, enjoy my Good, Bad, and Ugly of wintertime!
Comfort Food and Beverages: Macaroni and cheese. Soup. Nachos. Casseroles. Anything hot and filling that will thaw me out after a cold day. My favorite of these has to be mac and cheese, or just about any other pasta-based dish. And who can forget hot cocoa, coffee, apple cider, and tea? I’m a huge fan of coffee, as I’ve said several times before, and I also enjoy some good cocoa every now and then. But really, what more do you need after a long, cold, windy day than a bowl of gooey pasta and steaming cup of coffee? Not much, that’s for sure. P.S. favorite winter drink: Starbucks’s Peppermint White Hot Chocolate. Talk about delicious. Definitely worth the calories.
Snuggle Weather: If you don’t like to snuggle, you’re lying. Cold winter days are the perfect times to wrap up in a blanket with a loved one–parent, child, boyfriend, girlfriend, or even your pet…I know my cat loves my fleece quilts. But seriously, grab a blanket, company of some sort, and a movie. This could make for a great date when the weather is gross and you don’t want to go out!
The Holidays: Need I say much more? With Christmas and New Year’s in my family, and Valentine’s Day later in February, winter is loaded with special days. The winter holidays are a special time of year for every family, no matter which ones you celebrate.
Scarves (and other cute winter accessories): I usually don’t get into fashion too much, but I love scarves. They’re just fun and convenient, and you can find one in any color, any material, any weight, any design that will go with almost any outfit you put together. I have a collection of scarves myself, in at least five different colors. My favorite happens to be a maroon, black, and white plaid I got at Forever 21 a couple years ago for $5. Lucky find, and I love it. I also have a thing for gloves. My hands are the first part of my body to go cold, so I am rarely without a pair of gloves. They recently came out with these gloves that have little sensor pads on the fingertips so you can still use touchscreens with your gloves…like those on the right. My mom bought me a pair, and they are wonderful. I highly recommend them for anyone who uses a touchscreen device.
Gray landscape: Let’s be honest, winter isn’t always pretty. There’s just no color except brown and gray and white, and the occasional cardinal. Yeah, snow can be pretty when it’s falling, and sometimes the landscapes are nice to look at, but I’d rather see some color and flowers. I’m always more than happy when spring comes back.
Cold: I hate cold weather. I was born in North Carolina and grew up in Atlanta. “Cold” in the South for most people is mid-40s, but for me, since I’m cold-natured, is about ten degrees above that. It’s just not fun being cold. The only silver lining I can find about cold weather is that I get to wear sweaters, scarves, and my fuzzy boots. Aside from that, being cold is overrated and uncomfortable.
Winter Break from College: Okay, so it’s nice to have a break from the homework and studying, and I’m always happy to spend time with my family. But a whole month away from the college life? I think we can all agree that it gets boring quickly. I constantly have to keep myself entertained with movies, crafty stuff, cooking/baking, reading…anything. And even with all of that, I still get bored. I hope this winter break will be more exciting, mostly because I’m seeing Yellowcard in January! There’s one thing I’ll have to do. Yay!
Monster Storms: This year, we had Hurricane Sandy, which turned into Superstorm Sandy, which struck the East Coast last week. The northern states got hammered with rain and wind, and down here in Blacksburg, we got a dusting of snow and some nasty winds. I remember a few years ago when we got about five feet of snow within a week in February. My parents and I spent way more than our fair share of time clearing our driveway just to be able to get out and go to the grocery store! We had walls of snow at least five feet tall surrounding our driveway…maybe even taller! That was a nasty winter, and I’ve certainly seen my fair share of them. Storms also affect traffic patterns and driving habits. You’ve got to be super careful on the roads, and be mindful of the conditions, in snow or rain. Accidents are everywhere and occur when you least expect them. I always drive at least 5-10 mph below the speed limit when it’s raining or snowing, and sometimes even more depending on how hard it’s raining or snowing. It’s a good rule of thumb, and it has worked for me since I started driving. I cannot stress enough…drive carefully in the snow, and always adjust to the conditions!
Getting Rid of the Weight Gained from the Comfort/Holiday Foods: Between Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s, the food is endless, and it’s delicious. We eat and eat and eat until we think we can’t eat anymore…and then we keep going. I’ve told myself for the past few years that I’m going to be more mindful of what and how much I eat during the holidays, but it’s the holidays, let’s be real. I’d be lying if I said one of my New Year’s resolutions isn’t always, “I’m going to eat less, be healthier,” and things of the like. Getting rid of the holiday pounds is absolutely miserable, no matter how in shape you already are. I run and work out, and I usually enjoy going to the gym, but I hate going for the few weeks after the holidays end. Maybe this year, I’ll actually stick to my resolution. I guess I’ll find out in January.
And the one thing I cannot fairly assign to one category: SNOW.
I don’t like snow, but I don’t dislike it, either. I guess I can say I don’t mind it in small amounts. It’s pretty when it falls softly and dusts the trees and such, but any more than a few inches, and I’m out. As a kid when we lived in North Carolina and Georgia, snow was such a rare occurrence that we cherished it whenever the opportunity arose. In Atlanta, one mention of snow sends the city into panic, and schools close in a heartbeat. But in Pennsylvania, it’s very different. Four feet of snow is an annual expectation…sometimes all from one system. After living on a gravel road and going through six winters in Pennsylvania, I see what happens to snow when it melts. It’s disgusting. Gravel and dirt and melting snow is not my idea of pleasant. It tears up our road, makes our cars gross, and just doesn’t look nice. And as mentioned above, I don’t like driving in it.
I guess I have mixed feelings about winter. I hate being cold and snow isn’t my friend, but I love the winter clothes, comfort food, and any excuse to wrap up in a blanket. And I guess I can learn to face the post-holidays gym sessions. On the bright side, spring is really pretty, and serves as a nice relief from the miseries of winter.