In hindsight, my first Central Pennsylvania winter wasn’t so bad. Spending some time snowed in was kinda fun, but damn am I ready for warmth.
I celebrated the first day of Spring by unpacking the winter coat I put away two weeks ago, when I was lulled into a false sense of security by a string of 70+ degree days.
Foolhardy optimist that I am, I even planted rows upon rows of veggie seeds in my garden, hoping that good growth vibes alone would prevent a late-March frost. They didn’t.
I also froze my butt off standing in a 40-minute line for free Rita’s Water Ice, which, by the way, in Central Pennsylvania they just call “ice.” What am I doing here?
Anyway, now that Spring is officially upon us, I wanted to take a quick second to recap this past Winter, just for the sake of posterity. I’m a big fan of learning new things, and the start of this year offered a lot of opportunity to add to my (admittedly still limited) skill set.
1. I learned to work out! I was a pretty serious athlete all through my teenage years, and
stayed active couldn’t afford to eat during college, so I was always more or less in shape without spending much time in a gym. As it turns out, once you turn 25 a previously harmless little chicken parm habit can really start to catch up with you.
I just began to feel out of shape, unenergized and lethargic, and my anxiety seemed so much worse all of a sudden. (We’ll talk more about the anxiety some other time, but I just want to say before I continue that I’m in no way implying that working out can or has made that miraculously disappear. But it totally helps!)
In January, I took advantage of a New Year deal and joined a local gym with a pool and really great fitness classes. I got myself on a schedule of workout classes, and I go to yoga regularly. I can run several miles without stopping and I’ve conquered my fear of kettle bells. There hasn’t been much change cosmetically, but that’s not the point, and anyway it’s probably tied to the ice cream dependency. (I wish I knew how to quit you!) (No I don’t.) But I can’t tell you how much stronger I feel, and how much easier it is to get out of bed in the morning. I’ve been telling myself for years that soon – not today, but soon – I was going to get serious about getting fit and feeling good. I’m so excited I finally figured out how to trick myself into liking the gym.
Pro tip: when you get up, immediately put on yoga pants. If you actually go to the gym later, you are automatically justified in not wearing real pants all day, or ever again!
2. I learned to ski! I grew up in fairly close proximity to the Poconos, but I never made it anywhere near a real mountain until high school. This year I took some lessons and finally learned to ski, and while I’m certainly not flying down black diamonds, I am steadily improving, and this winter’s ski trips almost – almost – made it easier to wait for spring.
3. I learned how to de-skunk a dog. And my clothes. And a bathroom. And a house. It requires Dawn dish soap, peroxide, baking soda, patience and faith. Yes, Olive met a skunk. At 2 AM. Because of course she did.
Here’s a photo of Olive and Poppy, a few weeks post-skunking. You can still catch a little leftover smelliness when she gets wet, but Poppy doesn’t mind.