My Top 5 Fall (& Winter) Comforts

Fall is probably my favourite time of year, and in no small part because of how delightfully cozy it is. The nights are getting longer and cuddling up under a blanket looks more enticing each day beyond the equinox. Once the rain starts and that damp leaf mould perfume really takes hold, you can bet that I’m surrounding myself with all of my favourite cold-weather things.

Flannel

Flannel sheets, flannel shirts, flannel pyjamas, the flannel lining in my favourite down vest. Flannel is out in full force at my house. It is an immensely comforting fabric to live in, and it’s working wonders towards making this new house feel like home.

Wood

Though it be little, our wood-stove is mighty. As I write this, the little black box blazes nearby. The savoury smell of wood-smoke when I step outdoors. I can scavenge my own fuel from dead-fall, put handfuls of my forage on for kindling, and bask in its warmth. There’s a gentle snap and pull of air, as though a creature sleeps beside me, and I love it.

Wool

So much wool! With the cooler temperatures, knitting is comfortable again, and knitted things are the perfect weight to keep the chill off. On my needles this fall: socks, socks, new fingerless gloves for John, and more socks. On my body this winter: woolly boot socks, thick itchy pullovers, and woollen hats.

Coffee

I was strictly a tea drinker for a long time, but lately I’ve found that there’s nothing else quite as rich and decadent on a cool evening than a milky cup of dark roast coffee. The gentle curls of steam rising from the creamy surface. The heat of a heavy mug against my palm. The smokey flavour and intoxicating smell. I splurged a little this year and bought the more expensive stuff, and I have no regrets. The little bit extra for something that I love, and that centres me, was well worth it.

Vinyl

After a couple of months of not having access to my record collections during the summer move, putting on an album and leaning back for a listen is of particular comfort. Billie Holiday is getting a lot of play lately. Goes well with turning the lights down low and a hot cup of the above.

I hope you’re having a wonderful winter so far, and that you’re able to enjoy some of your own cold-weather comforts.

Happy New Year,

Syd

 

 

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Quarterly Goals: Winter 2017

It’s the start of 2017’s Winter Quarter, and here’s what I’m attempting to pull off over the next 3 months:

Read 6 books

I fell a little behind on my goal of reading a book a week in 2016, so I’ve set my total a little lower this year. I’m using Karen Kavett’s ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ calendar to track my resolution of every day throughout the year, which is all the easier with the little e-reader I bought for myself as a New Year’s gift.

Write/revise 3 short stories

This is an area I really want to focus on improving – and will be a challenge as I’ve been neglecting my short stories while I work on a novel. Rewriting/revising is not my strongest skill, but I’d like to get some shorts up to snuff for posting online (as well as submitting some for possible publication) and putting it off isn’t helping anybody.

Complete an Online Course via Coursera

I absolutely loved the Chicken Behaviour and Wellness course that I took last summer through the University of Edinburgh’s Coursera module, and I’m looking forward to doing another course this winter. Maybe Paleobiology?

Can 3 recipes

I expect I’ll be talking here more about canning this year as it’s a growing interest. My fall fruit preserves were a success and I’m excited to try some condiments and brines this winter. Mustard is very much on the to-do list.

Finish 3 knitted objects

I blew my knitting goal out of the water last quarter (the only goal I actually met/surpassed) but I’ve set it a little lower this time around to leave room for some larger projects – namely another hard-wearing pullover.

Write 6 letters

I’ve got some fantastic new penpals to add to my buddies that I write to, and I managed 8 letters last quarter (not including Christmas cards), so this goal is not daunting.

Learn to make 3 new meals

I recently scored a cast iron skillet at 70% off and I’m enthused about learning how to cook with it.

Complete my QoL score every Sunday

I’ve written before about the Quality of Life Score tool that I use to help manage the symptoms of my mood disorders. This one’s straightforward, but important.

Watch 3 new movies

I don’t watch many films. The last movie I saw in a theatre was Pacific Rim. I would like to watch more films. I should be able to manage one a month, right?

Play 12 gaming sessions with John

We got some great new board games for Christmas, as well as the beauties already present in our collection, and while we play pretty often, I’m aiming for a game at least once a week this quarter. Some current favourites: Mysterium and Sushi Go Party.

Send out the first chapter of Steep to my Beta readers

I’ve been dragging my heels pretty hard on this one. It’s a missed goal from last quarter and the quarter before that. Right now I’m struggling with whether the manuscript actually still needs work or if I’m just scared to get feedback. I’m giving myself to the end of this quarter to figure that out.

And that’s what I’m aiming for this winter. If you’d like to share some of your Winter Quarterly Goals, please do so in the comments below – I’d love to hear what you’re up to!