Winter

Winter is for wool socks. Wool sweaters. Wool everything.

It’s time for learning something new, like knitting, or making pasta, or something else creative indoors.

It’s for cases of Sweet Baby Jesus Peanut Butter Porter and parsnips. It’s time for marathoning a television show you missed four years ago, like ‘The Good Wife.”

Duclaw

 

otto lenghi's parsnips

 

For devouring fiction – all kinds of it, from the terrifying Gone Girl to every last one of your cookbooks, especially Nigella Lawson’s, which read like novels.

nigella

Winter is time for pondering the meaning of life: what am i doing with my life?  should i rearrange furniture?

Time to join a gym. Because, let’s face it, outside sucks.

It’s time for bad ass boots. Not those pretty little things you see ladies wearing around Center City. (How do they wear wool socks with those?)

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It’s time for reflection – on last year, and this year. Time to STAY AWAKE, even though this cold and sporadic sunshine could have you reaching for the covers, hoping to hibernate til April.

New Year, New Post

Here’s the short blurb I wrote for South Philadelphia Life Magazine’s December Issue. Since no one I know seems to get that magazine, I’m “reprinting” it here because the sentiments come straight from this girl’s heart and the turn of the year always puts me in the reflective spirit. 

rowhouses-1

Close Quarters

I have to push my dining room chair under the table before I can open my dishwasher.

If six or more people join me for dinner, someone’s eating with my bike’s handlebars in their face.

This is life in a South Philly row home. Things are stacked one on top of the other until, before you know it, your bikes are living in your kitchen right between the head of the table and the recycle bin.

Never more than during the holidays do I huff and puff about the limitations of a row home – if we want to fit a tree in here we’ll need to move the sofa to the basement.

So why do I do it to myself? Why not just hightail it to Lebanon or Lancaster and have a walk-in closet already?

The truth is, South Philly, I would miss you. I would miss the block parties, and strategizing with my neighbor against the squirrel living between our walls. Not because I particularly like moon bounces or the scratching I hear in my walls at night but because I think our close proximity is making me a better person. You make me share more than I would otherwise, and connect to people with whom I mistakenly thought I had nothing in common. And living in a row home means there are actual, physical limitations to how much I can expand and “improve.” It’s almost a relief – everyone’s lives can quit getting bigger and start going deeper, in time spent with our friends and neighbors.

Let’s face it, South Philly, we’ve got thin walls. I’ve heard your conversations as you pass, arguing and laughing. Your late night home improvement projects have kept me awake, too. Bottom line – when I’ve got mice, you’ve got mice. We’re in this together. Happy New Year.

My Life Sans Smart Phone

Did you know my Iphone was stolen?

I had to dig around in my basement for an old phone to use until a couple hundred bucks fell in my lap for a new smart phone. No fat envelopes of cash have been tucked into my mailbox. So — I’ve been rocking an old flip phone for the last month and a half.

Reach back into your memory. Somewhere between Y2k and Justin Timberlake ripping off Janet Jackson’s shirt. Can you remember the Nokia? It had the best phone game ever – I don’t care what you candy crushers gotta say about it.

Old School Nokia. Snake!

The Motorola flip that closed with such a thwack it made high schoolers feel like they meant business?

I’ve spent over 45 days with a flip phone now, a jankety thing that won’t work unless I have it on speaker.  I won’t lie – and you can judge me – its been a tough transition. Here are a couple of things I’ve noticed.

1.) T9 will be the end of me. This method of texting is so completely, utterly discouraging that I would rather just not communicate with you. I’ll either respond to your text with a call (which I know you hate and is a violation of our unspoken social texting contract) or I won’t respond at all. This is especially the case when a text calls for an unusual word. Proper nouns? Forget it. You’ll just never know that Hawthorne’s has a fire going, or that Kathleen Norris is definitely a Four on the Enneagram.

2.) Life on the toilet is much less interesting. Let’s just be totally honest here – you know you do it, too (please say you do, please say you do) You’ve taken your phone into bathrooms at restaurants to catch up on texts or a quick email. Even at home, maybe you’ll have your phone on the sink and then just flick through the facebook or instagram feed while you take care of business. It’s down time, really. And who just sits and stares into space during down time, right?

3.) Waiting is harder. My Iphone guaranteed entertainment for me every minute of every day. My biggest challenge of life sans smart phone came on Day 1 – the DMV. That’s right. Waiting at the DMV… without a smart phone. I watched the toddler in front of me eat cheetohs and climb under chairs for the better part of an hour.

I could go on.

But here is something strange – When my mother graciously offered to get me a smart phone for Christmas, I said … no thanks.

I might eventually spring for one myself, but after a month and a half with this old flip phone, I have to admit that the urgency is gone. I’ve learned to endure chunks of time without any media stimulation whatsoever (including loo time). I text less, which, ultimately, means nothing. I’m on Facebook and Instagram less, too, which, ultimately, means I am a little happier. I also take less pictures, which is too bad. But if I remember I have something called a camera somewhere in the basement…