We had snow, briefly, which meant a trek to Prospect Park and careening down a slick hillside, belly laughing. The trick to sledding is leaving the hill before anyone wants to. Wait to leave until everyone’s asked, and the 30-minute journey home becomes a feat requiring more stores of patience, cheer, and coping skills than anyone has left. (We have yet to leave while a sledding hill before everyone wants to.)
Currently we have rain and melting snow which means mounting slush pits and mounting melancholy, so I decided to bake a cake. I didn’t have neutral oil, so I poured liquid gold extra virgin olive in there instead. I ran out of vanilla, so I subbed orange extract. The top came out lumpy, so I poured over a citrus-scented glaze and sprinkled on rose petals and lemon zest and decided it looks delicious enough. This is what actually happened and it’s also a metaphor for my winter survival tactics. I am calling it a “no-reason cake,” though it’s probably more of a “forgive-me- for-the-things-I-said-in-February cake” or a “it’s-raining-in-winter cake.”
I have ordered yards of Indian cotton from online fabric shops. Sometimes I just have to leap into the unknown, especially when it comes to indigo grids and tiny blue flowers and especially in February. I see proper curtains in my future to replace the ripped sheets and drop cloth that have been hanging on my rods for a year. If ever there were a time to attempt sewing straight lines on an old sewing machine, February feels like it. Maybe those old sheets will become a braided rug I make myself. Maybe not.
Other things I will do in February:
+ Keep up with my back exercises.
+ Move the lamps around.
+ Celebrate a second birthday.
+ Wrap my head around summer break.
+ Eat lunch before 2:00 pm.
+ Bake another cake.
+ Watch more miniseries than is strictly advised.
+ Lower my expectations.
This is beautiful. Your writings are such a breath of fresh air, Erin. As a mom of 4, trying to keep up with myself, family, and friendships during this awful time in the world (and feeling like a failure so often) seeing “lowering expectations” on your list was a relief today. Thank you thank you thank you for continuing to normalize that, among many other wonderful things.
One change at the time. Appreciate the later sunsets. Go outside. Try to love the snow, which in my corner of the world will linger for quite a few more weeks… Thank you for this lovely blog <3
Everyday I’m thanking myself for, back in October, buying a few bags of spring bulbs that are now flowering around the house. I also bought a bird feeder to help with the winter blues and started taking cod liver oil. Although I don’t feel quite the same you about February as you (it’s my and my partner’s birthday month), winters in Scotland are loooong
Things I will do in February: wash+moisturize my face+neck, trade my afternoon coffee for tea, plan my garden, and get *less* annoyed with my couped up toddlers.
Beautiful. All of the above and then some
How is she two already???
Also, forgot about your recent back mishap, hope healing goes quick
Pat yourself in the back— you’re doing beautifully- you still have a margin of mental health left.
I’m just trying to stay sane- keep my what’s left of business going. Yes face moisturizer- more bathsneed to do better on the hair and cut myself a break. And GUILT FREE mini maxi series! Truthfully WHATEVER helps one cope is the BEST!
Possibly sell our home of 19 years and move to Chicagoland. Or stay in place and continue the nationwide job search. Find out (perhaps) next week. Either way, this February I will take it all in stride… and maybe bake a cake… yours looks delicious!
That fabric ❤️. I know the curtains will be beautiful, and yay for cake … always a good decision for bringing comfort and cheer. I’m rehanging some curtains in my daughter’s room that I made for our first house’s dining room , 20 years ago. Glad I saved them. Reading books this winter and lowering expectations , that’s a good one.
Glad you are rebounding! Winter is such a tough time. Thought of you as I read this recent post on repairing clothing on the Pata site…https://www.patagonia.com/stories/mending-life/story-113746.html. Love the artistry and I think you posted similar methods eons ago on this site!
Yoga is what has helped my back the most ♥️
Wishing you well ♥️
that cake is gorgeous….
I have been walking every single day. The upside on drizzly miserable days like today is there was hardly anyone out there to share the reservoir track with (expect for my neighborhood mom friend who I see almost every day as she’s trying to get her infant daughter to sleep). It’s the small things this month. I think baking a cake has to be next on the list.
Curious if you have back issues? I do…an old college running injury and after a painful few weeks at the end of 2021, I vowed to do better this year and keep up with stretching/regular exercise that will help. I’ve done a so-so job so far. Wondering what works for you?
You are such a breath of fresh air. My absolute favourite corner of the internet. Thanks.
My sister is due to have a baby next month so my February goals are:
1) Get my old, never-been-cleaned sewing machine tuned up
2) Make a quilted ball for the baby
3) Get ahead on coursework so I can visit when my sister needs a nap and a hug
Try to grasp that sometimes I need to put my ego and ambitions on hold and slow down, focus on my family and the moment. Realize that as much as I have enjoyed homeschooling the past (almost) two years, it’s not working for our family. A few months still to go, so I will enjoy and remember them. Make big decisions on our house: Do we renovate and possibly spend more money than we can afford, or move out of town to buy a house we can afford? I love our house and our neighborhood, but we are bursting at the seams. Most of all, I want to slow down. Stop living in the future and live in the right now. Perhaps, I can also stop being so darn grumpy with my kids.
looks yummy ♥
First time reader here.
“I am calling it a “no-reason cake,” though it’s probably more of a ‘forgive-me- for-the-things-I-said-in-February cake’ or a ‘it’s-raining-in-winter cake.'” – oh, this line made me laugh, Erin! And indeed, there’s so much to be said for “no reason cake.”
Your writing is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing. Cheers.
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