things i will do in february.

February 3, 2022

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.


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  • Reply Libby February 3, 2022 at 2:43 pm

    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.

  • Reply KRIS February 3, 2022 at 2:52 pm

    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

    • Reply Susana February 4, 2022 at 3:24 am

      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

  • Reply Megan February 3, 2022 at 3:03 pm

    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.

  • Reply LaTonya February 3, 2022 at 3:13 pm

    Beautiful. All of the above and then some

  • Reply Jan February 3, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    How is she two already???

  • Reply Jan February 3, 2022 at 4:06 pm

    Also, forgot about your recent back mishap, hope healing goes quick

  • Reply Lindy February 3, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    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!

  • Reply Sara K February 3, 2022 at 5:39 pm

    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!

  • Reply Leigh February 3, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    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.

  • Reply Anna February 3, 2022 at 6:35 pm

    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… Love the artistry and I think you posted similar methods eons ago on this site!

  • Reply Denise February 3, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Yoga is what has helped my back the most ♥️
    Wishing you well ♥️

  • Reply ramona February 3, 2022 at 8:18 pm

    that cake is gorgeous….

  • Reply Kim R. February 3, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    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.

  • Reply Heather February 4, 2022 at 9:46 am

    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?

  • Reply Erin February 4, 2022 at 10:22 am

    You are such a breath of fresh air. My absolute favourite corner of the internet. Thanks.

  • Reply Emily Crowder February 4, 2022 at 12:40 pm

    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

  • Reply Christie February 4, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    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.

  • Reply gkgirl February 4, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    looks yummy ♥

  • Reply Leah February 20, 2022 at 12:09 pm

    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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