Fresh wild turkey tracks, right after a fresh snowfall, with fresh tire tracks in the background. In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh
I know I like to complain a lot about winter. It’s the fun part of living in the frozen tundra. In reality, I actually like winter. Well…aspects of winter.
I get tired of the deep deep cold and the short days, but with the advent of daylight savings and some unseasonably warm weather, I’m remembering some things about summer that I’m not too fond of…like bugs that inadvertently fly in my mouth. Or maybe they are suicidal and do it on purpose – I don’t know. I only know it grosses me out.
A couple of weekends ago, we had an absolutely gorgeous winter day – temps in the mid-teens, blue skies and a brilliant sun. Dave and I grabbed the dogs and headed up to Potowatami State Park to tromp around in the snow, knowing it would be one of the last weekends before the crowds of people, mosquitoes, and wood ticks hatched.
It’s been a great winter for ice, so we decided to hike out along the shoreline to the boat landing, and then come back on the Ice Age Trail thru the woods. This gave us a chance to see the park from another vantage point normally reserved for boats and spend some extra time under the sun.
Along the way, we came across this mini igloo erected by some bored ice fishermen…or maybe bored ice fishermen’s children. I hadn’t been taking too many pictures because it was cold enough to shut my phone down if I had it out too long, but the minute I saw this, I knew I had to grab a few shots for Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge.
With all the melt and the mud, the dogs and I are stuck pounding the pavement until early summer, when it will at least dry up enough for chemically aided woodland hikes (translation: my body parts slathered in OFF and Front Line on the dogs). I guess I’ll just have to console myself with sunshine and bike rides. Oh darn.
With all the hoopla today about how cold it was going to be, I thought it might be fitting to open up my first ever Monday blog post with list of advantages to living in Wisconsin in the winter. By the way, anyone else notice that the coldest day on record since 1996 just happened to fall on a Monday? Just sayin’.
It is, indeed, a day to grind in the grim reality of at least 3 more months of cold and snow with nothing much to look forward to except that each passing day adds a couple more minutes of daylight. Oh, and a certain someone turns Nifty Fifty soon, so if you are the type that suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, and likes to spend money when you are depressed, feel free to buy me something cool.
1. No hurricanes in Wisconsin. Yay! Remind yourself of this as you walk to your car after work while the -50 degree wind is burning the skin off your cheeks like so much icy sandpaper. That will certainly make you feel better. You may also need to remember to hide Facebook posts from evil well-meaning friends and relatives that live in warmer climates…
2. No volcanoes spewing burning hot lava. Just because you seriously wouldn’t mind a little burning hot lava right now doesn’t mean you really truly want an active volcano in the neighborhood. Ask the people of Pompeii. Oh, that’s right, you can’t because they have all been turned into ash-cicles. Now shush and go put on an extra sweater and those woolie socks your mother got you for Christmas.
3. No sharks! Think of it. When you jump in Lake Michigan with the other nut jobs in the Polar Bear Club, you won’t ever have to worry about being eaten by a shark. I was going to say “eaten alive” but if you are in Lake Michigan in January, your “alive” status may very well be a moot point. As an added bonus, no Shark-Nados! Come spring time, we only have to worry about plain old Auntie Emm type twisters that kill you from flying debris and the sheer force of wind, and not with a clearly impossible flying vortex of sharks.
4. No spiders. At least not in the winter. All spiders are dead or dormant until spring, at which time they will suddenly appear on the ceiling directly over your head, and proceed to follow you around the room. Killing them only seems to cause more to appear. Clearly they are angry and now out to get you. Meanwhile, you read on the internet about a lady who found a nest of tarantulas in a cactus she just bought and your best friend tells you she read an article stating that most people swallow at least 4 spiders in their lifetime while they are sleeping, meaning spiders are crawling on you AS YOU SLEEP! But not in winter! You are safe, safe, safe, in winter! With the only exception of buying grapes and finding a hidden black widow spider. So yeah. Don’t buy any grapes.
5. No Snakes. All snakes are hanging out with the spiders, maybe playing poker and smoking cigars in some underground den, just waiting for spring, at which time you will find them nesting in your old mangy leaf piles you forgot to clean out of your windowsills. Yeah, just struck the fear of Snake into you didn’t I? Until then – you can prance around the neighborhood in your snowsuit without worry about seeing even a single snake. You might find some on a plane though, so be sure to stay in Wisconsin. Do not risk a snake attack by doing something so foolish as trying to go to a warmer climate. I read on the internet that they have giant man-eating spiders in the airport public toilets too. So there ya go.
6. No refrigeration required. This is a great bonus for those days we lose power in a snowstorm and have to burn furniture to stay warm. HAHA! Just kidding. Sort of…. But hey – nobody ever got food poisoning from Auntie Jean’s potato salad because it was sitting out in a snow bank. Plus, your beverages are always cold! And think how much you will save on your electric bills now that you aren’t running your refrigerator. You’ll probably save enough to replace some of that furniture you just burned. Or buy a lawn chair. Either way, you come out ahead.
7. Cute dog sweaters. While you are burning your furniture to stay warm and eating Aunt Jean’s potato salad, you can learn to knit doggie sweaters by firelight. I have posted some pictures of my favorites below on Lucky Dog. Despite his expression, he really loved them. He told me so later after I got back from the doctor and said he was really, really, sorry I needed stitches and plastic surgery to re-attach my fingers. After intensive physical therapy, I can now hold knitting needles again, so it’s all good. Added bonus: You can use knitting needles to roast marshmallows or wieners over the fire – both of which are delicious with potato salad. See? You have a complete meal right there. No scurvy or rickets for you this winter!
8. No earwigs. I repeat. No earwigs. I cannot stress this enough. NO EARWIGS. By far, one of the grossest bugs to crawl across the face of God’s green earth, and while not as bad as a spider, still pretty bad. I have read all the information from the entomologists stating that earwigs really don’t crawl into your ear and then eat your brain. However, I for one am not taking any chances. Have you seen the pincers on them? What else could they possibly be for? Those are brain eaters if I ever saw one.
9. Women do not have to shave their legs from November to March. If you’re a female Wisconsin resident and you’re shaving your legs during winter, you must be one of those foreign Illinois transplants. No self-respecting true Wisconsin woman would be caught dead with a razor on her legs during winter. Best watch yourself in the gym locker room, Miss Illinois. Wouldn’t want no trouble, now.
10. Your body burns more calories trying to stay warm, so the fewer clothes you wear, the more calories you will burn. You could possibly eliminate any need to work out at all and eat birthday cake at will, if you just walk around naked. Plus, with frostbite, you will probably lose a few limbs, thus adding to your overall weight loss. You didn’t need those appendages anyway. You know all those cute girls in bikinis you see on tv during the December Packers games? They aren’t drunk or crazy – they are simply using the cold to their advantage to lose weight. That’s why they look so good. Has nothing to do with the fact that they are 21 and have just indulged in an entire case of Miller Lite. Notice I said 21 and not 19. Because 21 is the legal drinking age in Wisconsin, and you won’t find any of our youngsters breaking that law. No sir!
Okay, enough foolishness for today! I gotta go eat my meatloaf. Stay warm my friends!
I happen to love bacon. Probably not as much as cake, but it’s up there on my list of delicious foods. However, this post isn’t really about bacon. I just used it to get your attention, because who doesn’t love bacon? And I am pretty sure you were all hoping I had a new weight loss solution that involved unlimited bacon. Sorry about that (not really).
What this post is really about is revamping your workout (if you have one). This has been a rather long winter, and if you are like me, you are at the point of sticking bamboo shoots under your fingernails than face another excruciating day in the gym. Here, then, are my top 5 ways to get your exercise head out of its rut.
- MUSIC – Did you see me change font colors there? I’m, like, a professional. Okay – this one is pretty easy. Pick new music for your exercise playlist. Be creative and look at music you might not have considered. Ask your friends for ideas or look at music you already have that you don’t listen to normally. See below for some of my favorites. No picking on me either.
- GET OUTSIDE – Again, pretty easy. So what if it’s snowing and the wind is howling and throwing ice pellets in your face. You’re an animal! A machine! A warrior! Cold increases your metabolism! Tornadoes make you run faster! Snow is just an excuse to run in snowshoes! Only wussies stay inside! Are you a wussy? Exactly!
- TRY SOMETHING NEW – Do you run every day? Or spin? Or do you lift the same routine? Even if you are mixing it up, you may still be bored. Time to hit YouTube and check out the bazillion workout videos posted there. Some are cheesy, some are awesome. See below for some awesome. Don’t freak out if you run across something you are not sure you can do – this happens to me all the time. The point is to TRY, then MODIFY.
- PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS – Sign up for an event. Better yet, sign up for an event that requires a little fundraising and helps out a charity, plus you get to meet some pretty cool people. Step out of the box and look at something you have never done. Nothing motivates like a looming physical challenge. See? Now you just have anxiety and panic, but no more boredom! Whee!
- BUY NEW WORKOUT CLOTHES – I know this is shallow, but it works for me. I love wearing new fun colors, and even if I still hate the workout, it at least gets me dressed. Even a new exercise bra is motivating to me (yes, I know I’m a weirdo. No need to point it out). Besides, that gym shirt you have worn for the last two years probably has some major smell issues going on, no matter how much you wash it. Don’t be that guy.
As promised, here are my top 10 Workout Songs!
1. Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
2. Pump It – The Black Eyed Peas
3. What I Like About You – The Romantics
4. Numb – Linkin Park
5. Big House – Audio Adrenaline
6. A Little Less Conversation – Elvis
7. One Thing Leads To Another – The Fixx
8. Ballroom Blitz – Blue Oyster Cult
9. I’m Shipping Up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
10. Motivation – Sum 41
And some awesome folks who have some great workout videos, like Zuzana Light and Blogilates:
And for the completely impossible – this guy:
Please tell me your favorite workout songs or videos! I am always looking for new music and ideas!
Stay classy San Diego,