Deep in November

It’s not even 5 pm, but the day has been dreary and mizzly so it’s nearly dark outside. Temperatures are trending down toward freezing, and the wind is gusting making it feel even colder. I know many people dread this time of year–the cold, the slick roads, the darkness make everything harder.

But I like the transition from fall to winter. First off, NO BUGS. I know bugs are important to the ecosystem, but my nearest neighbors are bovines. I get all the insect companionship I want by the end of summer. Secondly, I sleep better when it’s cold. This might be a circadian rhythm thing; might have to do with the house being quieter when doors and windows are closed; might be because exercising in cooler weather isn’t as awful as exercising in summer’s heat, so I’m more tuckered out.

Thirdly, the long dark evenings mean I get more writing done. I think the sun going down earlier prompts me to leave the danged law office at a reasonable hour, whereas in summer, I’ll still be there at 8 pm, pretending I’m getting stuff done. Fourthly, the holidays approach, and that’s a lovely time of year. We think of others more naturally then, and when is that a bad idea?

Fifthly, changing seasons give my life a sense of moving forward–toward something–and I like that. My parents lived in San Diego, and while I know there are seasons in that latitude (June has a lot of morning fog, rain comes (if ever) in December and January), but the seasons where I live are dramatic enough to create a strong impression. When the first snow hits, when the first crocus comes up, when the first lightning bug is spotted, things are changing.

This has been challenging year for many of us, and the changing seasons remind me: Onward. We have only this one life in which to create a meaningful legacy and light a few candles.

How does the onset of winter find you? Ready to read for three months straight? In a funk? Catalogue shopping like a boss? To one commenter, I’ll send a box of The Highland Chocolatier’s signature truffles and pralines. They will take a while to get to you, but are well worth the wait.

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101 comments on “Deep in November

  1. One thing that bothers me in the winter is that my friends and people around me seem to moan more than usual,I know that the older we get the grumpy mode sets in.But it seems to bring me down in spirit a bit.We have a lot going on in the UK at the moment none of it positive.We are to keep switching our electric and gas suppliers to get the cheapest price then that goes up and we are changing every six months or so.It is not regulated many people in this country are struggling even with the two hundred pound allowance we are given.Something is very very wrong when a government has to give a winter fuel allowance to the elderly when power companies make millions.It frustrates me then I look out of my lounge window and see the sun trying it’s best to shine through despite the dark clouds and then I know that is what most of us do in this life we struggle on.We may moan but we can still see the positive and loveliness of living.I am off to my daughter and her family for a Sunday roast dinner can’t get any better than that.Enjoy it all and keep warm.

    • I know when I’d go to visit my parents in San Diego of a snowy January, the sheer delight of being able to go outside in shirtsleeves 340 days a year was such a relief. Whether it was the Vitamin D, the lack of winter illnesses, the sense of not being shut in by the elements… the people in that climate weren’t grieving for the first snow flake.
      And the UK has my sympathies. The US is also facing changes many of us didn’t see coming. I’m hopeful that if Brexit happens, it’s soft, and well thought out… and that your winter is mild.

  2. For me there are many transitions that occur this time of the year…some expected: getting a year older (just celebrated my 66th year), the drive to get all our employees vaccinated for the flu ( I am an employee occupational health nurse) and assorted family birthdays which fall between September through December : a brother, niece, cousin, granddaughter and my father…some unexpected: the passing of the September born brother …some totally unexpected: the decision to retire after 31 years first as an oncology nurse and then in occupational health.
    High points include the gathering of most of the family for the holidays and watching with pride the growth of our grandchildren. As we celebrate our family, we also reflect on those who no longer sit at the table: mother,father and brotheras even though they are there with us in spirit.
    I agree with you Grace, it is a season of transition. Some of my mantras include “life is short, eat dessert first!”; Tempis fugiti and Carpe Diem!

    • Condolences on the loss of your sibling. Our brothers and sisters know us the longest of anybody, and sometimes know us the best. Now that both of my parents are gone, a family reunion seems like an even better idea than it did a few years ago.
      And I hope retirement is full of HEAs, the literary kind, and the IRL kind!

      • Thank you for your sympathy, in my years of nursing, I have seen my share of people passing on, but how much more deeply felt when the loss is close to home…I am making a more concerted effort to reach out regularly to family and friends, as well as divesting myself of too many material possessions…what has deep meaning and associated memories for my generation does not have the same degree of meaning to my children and grandchildren… I forget that to that to them, my husband and I are the elderly, almost ancient ancestors . We have had at times, 4 living generations. The good Lord willing, we shall carry that forward!

  3. I think I’ve said this before, but the holidays get me through the first part of Winter and the promise of Spring gets me through the second part. I don’t mind the cold, and I also sleep better during the winter. But the gray days do get to me after a while. But I know they are coming and I’m prepared. I do a lot of comfort reads during these months. I just started re-reading Mary Balogh’s Slightly series, and I’ll be coming for you soon DARIUS.

    • Darius isn’t looking too worried… in fact, I think he’s pleased.
      Last year I spent much of December and January in San Diego, and when I go back to cold, gloomy old Maryland, I could NOT get my circadian rhythm to sync with the eastern time zone. I bought one of those Day Lights, that blasts blue light, and turned it on first thing in the day. THAT worked… but what a rough, dreary few weeks!

  4. I am transitioning into Winter. We’ve got the fall yard work under control and the porch furniture is put away. Trying out my crockpot tonight as its too cold to grill. Am getting use to walking out to my car after work in the dark but, enjoying the morning sun with the dogs. I bought myself a small bouquet of flowers last week and they brighten up the kitchen table.

    Looking forward to hosting Thanksgiving this week. The house is clean, new tablecloth and candles are purchased, turkey ordered…. Hoping I didn’t forget anything.

    I will admit that I enjoy the first two months of the year when there are no obligations. It’s nice to enjoy a weekend afternoon reading or watching a movie. And the quiet….after the holiday season….is priceless.

    • I like the sense of being left to my own devices this time of year as well. I usually get a big blast of writing done, and can march into the new year feeling like I have a few titles to publish. Long, dark evening are GREAT for watching keeper movies, and though I don’t bake myself, some Christmas cookies always seem to come my way, and I do believe I can taste the love in them.

  5. I also live where the changes in seasons is very noticeable, and I can’t imagine living somewhere where they aren’t. I love the transition into winter as temperatures drop because I sleep so much better and love being able to snuggle under several layers of blankets. I am just much happier with the cool weather – I’ll get plenty of reading done and enjoy some of my favorite TV shows on Netflix and find a few new ones too.

  6. I have lived in the Chicago area most of my life. I don’t count the time downstate at the university as NOT living in Chicago because, except for it being a bit warmer in the summer, it’s the same.

    I’ve lived in Tennessee and California too and have been miserable. Why? Because of the feelings you express; I have to go through those transitions. I need the four seasons as interpreted by Chicago weather to be peaceful, eventho the weather here ain’t so peaceful. I need the transition between fall and winter; the wet, the cold one and day and warm and sunny the next (case in point…it was cold and rainy and sleety yesterday, sunny today and predicted to be in the 50s tomorrow), it’s as if Mother Nature is preparing us for what comes next. It is the same between winter and spring, except it’s muddy and green stuff peeks out of the ground. Some don’t like early spring but I do, when anything possible. I feel the same about the coming transition from fall to winter; winter is a time to plan, hunker down, be with family and refresh and collect ourselves, being forced to do it because of the weather. The ancient’s belief of darkness coming before the light appeals and explains.

    The feeling of Time Marching On as sure as anything, winter follows fall, life continuing on despite the craziness in our society is comforting. The occasional sunny day is our reward for those crappy, challenging days.

    And Grace, loved your Welsh Duke, despite (maybe because of) his occasional pigheadedness. I do have a question for your about the book; is Griffin on the autism spectrum? As an Autism Mom I am super-sensitive to those behaviors. I loved him and thought he was quite an interesting guy……he might deserve a novella with his Biddy….I want to know his story and why he is the way he is. Maybe it’s just me but he fascinates me!

    • I agree that Griffin seems to live with ASD. I like him too. I love how much his family loves him and how they have created such a dignified life for him.

    • Griffin nearly stole that book… he pops up in Charlotte and Sherbourne’s story too, and yes, I think that guy needs a novella. But as for the nature of his disability, all I know is that he was oxygen deprived during labor, so I think it’s more likely that he is simply brain-damaged as a result of hypoxia. His gregariousness, eye contact, affectionate nature even with strangers… I don’t think of those a typical ASD characteristics, but who knows? He perseverates, he loves numbers, he has an affinity for animals, and yet, symbolism baffles him, so maybe….?

      • I was president of a local chapter of the Autism Society of America for a little over six years and have worked with the population for many years before and after (I mentor choirs of adults with developmental issues across the country). I can tell you some folks with autism DO make eye contact (my son did, even before he began therapy at 27 months)and some are gregarious too; some have trouble with social issues because they trust strangers and are affectionate……hypoxia might be the cause of his issues BUT……just sayin’ 🙂

  7. Ah winter, here in Phx, AZ I am praying for the day time temperature to drop below 80 and stay down for a good long while. The ground water is still not cold, tepid maybe. I have a strong urge to move back east and have real weather …. although I do enjoy the lower bug population out here.

    I have been so aware that I am on the down hill slide of my life time. I go from regrets to ideals for being more selfish in the remaining years. Is it too late to get in good enough shape to walk all over the British Isles? I would love to spend say 6 months just wandering around… but I can’t be away from my beloved dog for that long I don’t think.

    • I hit this point a few years ago. “But who will feed my cats/dogs?” And it occurred to me that Other People could do that for a few weeks while I was enjoying whatever window I have left of good mobility and mental clarity. I think the first part of our mature years–when our faculties are still mostly functional–can be the BEST part of life. The second part of our mature years, when we know we’re declining, and prudence prohibits most risks, I’m going to need the memory of my road trips, tours, and other adventures to sustain me.
      Go have a little adventure, let somebody else look after the pets for a couple weeks. It’ll be OK!

  8. Nikki I am already in a pain flare with my Multiple Sclerosis! I don’t want any more winter…. Pllllleeeeaaassseee! I was already hospitalized for it. It’s no fun especially walking threw snow when you already fall. And yes I am shopping online but, sadly since I am disabled money’s extremely tight.

    • Opps not Nikki that’s should say Noooo. With my pain flare I also have extremely poor she sight! I apologize I cannot see the tiny writing before its actually commented.

    • I am so sorry that cold weather means double misery for you. I hadn’t been aware of this aspect of MS. I know that many people also suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder due to the lack of light. I hope your winter is also mild, and as sunny as winter can be!

    • Glad to hear it! I think it’s hard to read a winter story in the middle of summer, but not so much the other day. Lush, green Wales in all it’s summer finery is a cheering thought right about now!

  9. Well I *thought* I liked the change of seasons but I think I just like the dramatic change of seasons in theory because when I was in Connecticut a couple weeks ago, the dark, dreary days made me want to get back to Las Vegas as soon as possible. I guess I need more sun (a constant in this area throughout the entire year) than I thought I did (and now I can totally understand why my grandmother and her friends would head south each fall and stay there until spring!).

    • I bet though, that being acclimated to Vegas, you now detect seasons there too, whether it’s wind, angle of the light, temperatures… you’re cued in there. I just happen to be cued into the Mid-Atlantic temperate climate, with its fall colors, snow, flowering trees, and muggy summers. If I could find a place that alternated between fall and spring, with very short winters and summers, I’d probably love it.

  10. I confess this is my least favorite time of year, for the most part. Sure, I do love the holiday season, since it makes things sparkly and pretty and happy. But once that’s over, I’m ready for spring. I dislike commuting in the dark; especially since I work in a basement, so there are no windows, meaning I get next to no natural sunlight because in the worst of it it’s barely getting light when I get off the bus and starts getting dark pretty much as soon as I leave work. Plus I have a hard enough time waking up early as it is; make it dark and cold and the instinct to stay huddled in the warm sleepy cocoon is powerful indeed. And I dislike having to wrap up like an arctic explorer every time I want to set foot outside. Winter hangs on for months, anymore, and I get so sick of it. So Christmas is a lovely time, but once it’s past, forget it. My winter tolerance is tied entirely to the holidays. Take down the glittery lights and it becomes bleak, cold, and miserable. Summer heat is bad, yes, but winter is worse.

    • Another vote for a sunny, mild winter.
      I was raised in the country, where you just have to go outside–to get into your car, go to the mailbox, dump the trash… Not until I moved to DC after college did I encounter the problem you’re referring to, where you can get on the metro in the basement of your apartment complex, get off the metro in the basement of your office building in Crystal City, and go literally for weeks without being outside. I’d go bonkers on that schedule, and yet, DC gets many single-digit days in a hard winter, and can get three feet of snow at once, so I realize living in a human Habit-trail might have advantages.
      We’ll hope for at least a good January thaw to boost your spirits until spring arrives.

  11. I dislike winter for several reasons.
    First, I get cold easily and once I’m cold it’s almost impossible to get warm, so the weather is not my favourite.
    Second, the days are so short, I am a night owl but still I find all this darkness depressing.
    That being said, I do lots of reading and crafting over the winter while I’m holed up inside keeping warm.

    • My sister-in-law has Reynaud’s syndrome (poor capillary bedding in the extremities, so her hands and feet and nose tend to be cold). My brother says he knows he’s a married man when it’s the middle of a Montana winter, he’s all snugly in bed, and his wife climbs in with him and mashes her icicle nose right between his shoulder blades with a softly whispered, “I love you, honey.”

  12. Reading and setting up Christmas lights help me get through the gray Chicago time. Don’t forget the Christmas songs too!! Hard to be blue when jingle bells is playing

    • There are a ton of great Christmas songs, and Christmas movies. I also like the Christmas specials for kids, and if nothing else makes me cry, the toys on the Island of Misfit Toys, thinking they’ve been passed over again, gets me going (Rudolph, in case anybody has been living in a cave).

  13. Happy Sunday! I am excited about a brief period to focus on thankfulness then getting ready to remember the birth of my savior. It is a good season to read and relax. On Thanksgiving night, I begin my advent reading where I read one book a day that contains the holiday season so I will be reading several Windham stories. Thank you for your books! Winter in Calufornia has been wetter and wilder, I worry for those who suffered loss this summer and it does sound as if Washington D.C. Is filled to the brim with Scrooges and those who bring dismay. Thank you for sharing and have a blessed week!

    • DC might be filled with Scrooges, but December is a great time to enjoy the capital. The national tree is lovely, the National Zoo goes all out with Christmas lights and is thus open at night. Many of the museums have Christmas or holiday themed displays, and the Mall always looks so pretty with a dusting of snow. Hmmm… might have to do a weekend in DC this year!

  14. I most look forward to spending time with family during the holidays. During a particularly down time in my life, they reached out and made sure I was okay and to this day, they make sure I’m included in family events. I would share the truffles with them

    • What a nice thought, and sounds like you got lucky in the family department. I’ve spent many holidays alone, and for me that’s mostly been peaceful, but I know solitude can be a burden, and the holidays are bleak for many. A great time to have a little chocolate on hand to keep the magnesium levels steady–right?

  15. This time last year, I was finishing my third round of chemo and “looking forward” to round 4, coupled with 25 radiation “treatments” to combat stage IV cancer. It was, indeed, a dark, dreary season of uncertainty. So every day of remission is welcomed as an opportunity to breathe the fresh, crisp air and face the nippy winds. Every day holds something special in reserve for me to enjoy: watching my grandpunks play soccer or football, listening to another violin recital, applauding an academic award or a sports trophy, attaching one more artistic creation to the refrigerator. Singing one more song, playing one more Christmas arrangement, putting up one more tree. Knowing each of these events which would normally seem so ordinary is really an extraordinary blessing.

  16. I never look forward to winter, but tea and hot chocolate and a good book is a great consolation prize. It’s also a great excuse to unbury all those pretty throws and warm cardigans of mine. A fireplace would be lovely, but that’s only a dream.

    • I’d like a fireplace too, but my hearth is taken up by a big old woodstove. I can’t see the fire, but I can feel that radiant heat, and the house is small enough that the one woodstove can pretty much heat the whole place. That’s a comfort when the power goes out.
      I’m slurping up the designer teas lately–chamomile, pepperment, lavender, orange and spice… YUM.

  17. I love this time of year! October, November, and December bring fun, family and faith with Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The crisp chill in the morning air wakes me up almost as well as my morning latte. The absence of stifling summer humidity is wonderful! I’ll take the static electricity in my hair over damp, limp locks any day. Bring on the cozy blankets, sweaters & wraps!

  18. I love the fact that there is spring coming. Winter, not so much. If I could stay home and just look at the beauty of it, I would love it. (And I use to be able to do that a lot). But now I have a part-time job, I visit my mother in assisted living as often as possible, and I have my fitst grandchild (joy) but I’m one of their sitters which means traveling on winding roads in the dark and snow and ice covered roads…

    • If you go to the Highland Chocolatier website… well, don’t go on an empty stomach. And Ian Barrett, the guy who makes the chocolate, does some short videos on his process. Do you know how enticing chocolate-making sounds when the chocolatier has a Highland burr?

  19. I love the change of seasons. We don’t get much winter down here in Florida and frankly I miss it. I love snuggling under a blanket in front of a fire with a good book.

    • I don’t think I could thrive in Florida. The people are friendly, there’s tons to do, the vegetation is lush, and you can’t complain about a lack of sun… but what I found disorienting is how flat it is. There aren’t geological features–mountains, high hills, valleys–that keep me oriented on an animal level. Took me a long time to figure out why I was vaguely anxious in Florida, and always double-checking the map. It’s the lack of elevation. Who’d a thought?

  20. I do like the over cast weather that comes with winter, but over all not a huge fan. I get extremely dry skin and no amount of moisturizer seems to help it. I also sleep better in winter due to the house being cooler, we live in the south and we do have AC, but even with it the upstairs rooms take forever to cool down to something comfortable.

    • I’m a fan of shay butter and bag balm, but I know the kind of dry skin you’re talking about. It HURTS, and you dread getting wet, and going outside makes it worse. I knew a couple of farmers who swore by rinsing their hands in rubbing alcohol before they went out–said truly dry skin won’t chap.
      I’m not trying it. Nope, nope, nope.

    • I wish you could post a picture of your TBR pile. I have about six books on backlog, but they won’t last long. Fortunately, Loretta Chase has new one coming out, the first in her Disgraceful Dukes!

  21. I’m not a big fan of winter. I get cold and clammy hands and feet that makes the rest of me feel cold. I also don’t like the short, often grey days. I prefer spring and fall. Those times of the year don’t seem like they are stuck in one mode. The only positive thing about winter is what you already said, no bugs.

    • Another positive thing where I live: Because my house shaded by big, old, maples, the house can feel gloomy when the trees are leafed out. In winter, with the leaves off, the sun can actually reach my house. Toss on a dusting of snow and some sunshine, and winter can actually have the brightest days here.

  22. Would love the chocolates! November … also noteworthy for rodents moving indoors (sorry, a personal concern) and, yes, Thanksgiving!

    I am reminded that, in 1789, the first year of George Washington’s presidency, Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving Day and urged Americans be ever grateful for having “establish[ed] constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, * * * [with] civil and religious liberty * * * [and] a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, * * * faithfully executed and obeyed.” Exactly what I would be ever so thankful to experience and to see in our glorious Nation.

  23. I thrive in the cold, blustery gray of the Pacific Northwest. The heat, sun, and definitely bugs (especially in the barn!) in summer don’t agree with me. For me, fall and winter are my time to settle, cook comfort food, and enjoy. I love it!

    • I used to like riding through the seasons. In fall, the first few chipper days meant the ponies were frisky. Winter meant long, long warm-ups, but the horses were usually happy work and keep moving. Spring was back to riding without a jacket, and summer nobody needed much stretching.
      But oh, the horse hair in spring… the bales and buckets of horse hair.

  24. I love winter when it’s cold, wet, and windy. I’ve found I can tolerate the cold much better than I can the heat and humidity we have most of the year. I’m trying, not very successfully I must add, to catch up on my reading. I’ve got at least half a dozen books I need to read. Your latest is one because after I misplaced it I picked up Mary Balogh’s latest and read it, just finished the except for the next book today. I have located your book and will go back to it.

    • Oops! I goofed big time. What I intended to say is I love Winter when it’s not cold, wet, and windy. So sorry I left out such a small but important word. I couldn’t figure out how to edit my post. Sorry.

      • Glad you found the book Molly, but isn’t Mary Balogh’s Someone to Wed just lovely? It was also chosen as a Library Journal Best Book of the Year along with Tessa Dare’s latest duke. The librarians have VERY good taste.

  25. I love the changing seasons. I can’t understand how people live where there is just one long season (no matter what that season is). I need the change. I love the miserable heat of summer. I love snow days.

    I love the holidays. It’s a break from the stress of work and students and it means I get new students in January. I’m already thinking about and planning how I’ll tweak things to hopefully make my class better next time around.

  26. As a California resident, I find that traveling brings me that experience of the seasons. Before I retired, I could only travel in the summer. I marveled at so many places being green during the summer.

    Now that I’ve retired, I have more flexibility with travel times. January has become a new favorite time, although I was stunned at the variety of weather in August in Scotland I loved the rain and mist of the Highlands as we journeyed to the Higland Games and loved the visit to Ian’s chocolate shop. I’ve got my fingers crossed that I will taste that chocolate again really soon!

    • Here’s what you do: You put your credit card in a cup of water, set it in the freezer and wait two hours. THEN you go visit Ian’s website… I can think of a zillion people on my Christmas list who could use some truffles…
      I hope amid your travels, you’re also finding some time to write, even if it’s just for your own pleasure. (NUDGE.)

  27. I find myself stuck a little bit in the time change. While on the one hand, I’m happy for more light when I drive to work in the morning, on the other hand, I get a sense of claustrophobia when it’s always dark by the time I drive home. As a high school teacher, this time of year brings scholars bowl and basketball games. I coach scholars bowl and that keeps me out late. I do concession stands for basketball and that is another time commitment. There are also challenges to healthy habits – the short days, time commitments, and colder weather make it hard to get my walks in. The constant parties and food in the break room make healthy eating difficult. This year, I’ve started watching NHL hockey and that is very soothing to me for some reason. Probably because I can read at the same time! I tend to measure my spiritual and mental health at this time of the year, probably because it tends to be a low for me. Some years I fall into a funk and that is damaging and hard to shake off. As I get older, I’m getting better at coping. This year seems to be a good year, so far. There was a comment about using anticipation of the holidays to get through November and December, and using anticipation of spring to get through January and February. That really resonates with me. I think I use books as a crutch to help me through. And while I’m ok with that, I would honestly aspire to replace some of my reading time with interactions with people I care about. Another commenter discussed having greater autonomy to be selfish with free time as you get older – this also resonates with me somewhat. I want to be more purposeful in my choices but I often feel stuck just getting by.
    I am so happy that I saw your Sunday discussion today on Facebook. A few years back it was a highlight of my week but I got distracted. I hope to start participating in these conversations again on a regular basis.

    • Lovely to hear from you again, Amy! And yeah… hockey. Some of my former ridin’ buddies are big into hockey, and when I visited them, I got to watching some. Unlike baseball, it moves all over. Unlike football, it moves fast. The players and fans really seem to have a bond, and hockey as a sport seems to take community building seriously.
      Odd that you should find hockey goes well with reading romance. Wasn’t it Susan Elizabeth Phillips who had some hockey player heroes?

  28. Most people think of November as bare and cold, colorless the leaves are down snow not yet. But for me, November is the end of the beginning, growing up it always felt that way and it still does. We were a Catholic family and that was our frame of reference for the year. This frame was given by my Mom. November 2 is all saints day and the beginning of the great countdown. Around 3 weeks to the Turkey to prepare the family on whether there would be company or not. Also, did Mom have to work? She was an X-ray tech and the holidays rotated. Very important if Dad was in charge of basting. Most times no company cause there were already 7 of us. And by the time I was 16 I took over basting. Anyway,Mid November Mom would withdraw the “Christmas Club” savings account. Then 1 week after turkey the house was Chrismased. I guess I find November, is my January, my New Years if you will the holidays beginning rather than ending my year. That is why November has color for me.

    • I hadn’t thought of it that way, but your analogy works for me. November 2 was my dad’s birthday, and in my family, that did feel like the first winter holiday. Mom’s birthday being December 30th added to the calendar, and my birthday, in spring, felt like the end of winter (even if it was snowing). Hmmm… maybe I’m a pagan?

  29. I don’t mind the getting dark earlier part but when you couple it with the end of daylight savings time the getting dark earlier bit is harder to deal with. I really appreciate the cooler weather – and not only becase it is not longer too hot to wear my boots comfortably. The past few years it hasn’t stayed cold long enough to reduce the insect population by much. Hopefully this year we will have a good freeze I am looking forward to family time over the holidays when my kids are both going to be home from university at the same time – at least for a few days.

    • When I was growing up, I loved the holidays, not only because holidays are fun, no school, special meals, but because my older siblings came home. My oldest brothers (twins) are thirteen years my senior, and disappeared to college by the time I was in elementary school.
      The re-gathering of family is just so precious. I’m glad you’ll get a few days to all be together, even if the scholars spend most of it doing laundry and reconnecting with old friends.

  30. I prefer fall, but there is something magical about the first good snowfall. Everything is quiet and you know when it stops all the trees will be beautiful. Also I love seeing bunny tracks!

  31. One thing I look foward to as winter nears is the conclusion of another fall semester at work. I’ve worked at a four-year public institution of higher ed for just over 20 years, and in that time I’ve come to know that the fall semester is the busiest, most stressful time of the academic year. As associate registrar, I love the work I do, but it also has the predictable habit of wearing me out.

    There is the everyday work of maintaining all the systems that keep student records safe and facilitating the building of schedules that lead to earning degrees. But on top of that, there is a team to inspire, a half dozen other offices developing ideas that need you to weigh in, committee work, etc. So, as the days grow shorter, I do find myself taking deeper, albeit chilly breaths and silently celebrating that I’ve made it through another hard semester alive and well.

    The winter break between semesters is no small reward either!

    • I grew up in a college town (State College) which was great in so many ways. Terrific concerts, unusual diversity compared to the rest of the region, wonderful sports facilities, very good public schools, an easy transition to college… but that week when the students were all converging on the campus at the beginning of fall quarter… ye gods. Mayhem and madness, and then three straight days of registration as 30,000 undergrads filed through the IntraMural Building… I hope all of that is on-line now, because it surely started the academic year off with a roar!

  32. There’s no winter in Singapore, but I love lighting mistletoe scented candles. The whole apartment would smell like Christmas!

    • Oh, you’re right–that’s another thing I love about the cooler weather, lighting scented candles. I might use the occasional citronella candle in summer, but I didn’t find that really did much to repel bugs. My fave scented candle is the Jane Austen library candle by Paddwax. The fragrance is intoxicatingly lovely.

  33. Winter is very soon here in eastern WA state. So far lots of rain but not to cold yet. I’m getting ready for thanksgiving and then Christmas.

    • Where was that rain when the wild fires were raging…? But that’s life in a two-season climate. My brother says they have brown and green, and the difference between them is one good, hard rain and about 72 hours of sunshine.
      Will hope you get some sunny days soon,because that mud gets tedious!

  34. I love my seasons. We spent too many years living in FL where all I got was hurricane season. Now I wallow in fall leaves and snow days and spring blossoms.

    I especially love winter. I don’t know why people are so difficult about it. The short days are hard. I’m likely to go to bed at 7:00, but I also sleep better under layers of blankets with fleece sheets and flannel pajamas. I can drink as many cups of tea as I want. And there’s really nothing better to do than read a book.

    And, like you, I am also grateful to have some of the bugs tucked away, although the transition period is tough when they are coming and going in spring and fall.

    • I understand why people don’t like winter. The darkness can affect mood, the holidays are stressful, the snow and ice is downright dangerous for many… but so is heat, so are wildfires, so are some bugs… I like that whatever your season, it will roll around again, and every season had some charm.

  35. Both summer and winter have their pros & cons. I love winter because of the cooler weather and holidays. But that’s it. Everything is dark & gray. Freezing weather which causes me to stay in . It affects my back problems severely. And in my family, at least everyone suffers from SAD. I try keeping music playing, blinds open etc. Once February passes I feel the upcoming of Spring and it’s wonderful. 🙂
    Carol L

  36. The semester is almost over so that’s pretty sweet. I have one more big paper for my class in Russian History. Thanksgiving will be nice and quiet. I get two weeks off for Christmas Break, so I am a happy girl. I hope to get to read some fun books.

    • I have read my way through many, many Christmas breaks, and used to love the Christmases when most of my presents were books. What greater pleasure, then to curl up with a book and read the whole day away?

  37. Houston’s weather is beautiful right now…sunny and upper 50s. After what Houstonians experienced earlier this year, it’s good for us to remember that November through January brings some of our prettiest, most temperate weather. Great football weather.

    I do appreciate your observation about the bugs. None for you, fewer for us. However it happens, it’s a definite improvement! Thanks for the post.

    • Houston deserves about twenty years of perfect weather, considering this year. Puerto Rico the same. When I visit my horse riding friends in Florida, they’re always so gleeful about not having any winter. They claim the 100 degree days aren’t that bad if you ride early (oh, sure… like we don’t get `100 degree days in Maryland?), but that business about the hurricanes… that’s one big argument for staying where I am. The horse folks in FL have to braid ID tags into their horse’s manes every time a big storm is predicted.
      No thanks…

  38. I love the transition to winter, but the warm one day, cold the next, then warm again plays havoc with my sinuses. I love winter IF there is sunshine. We live in the Smoky Mountains and it is overcast a lot, so I don’t appreciate that.

  39. I guess I am in a funk right now. My husband lost his job in January and has not been able to find another one. Right now he is working at Walmart as a temp. So its been a hard year for us. Hopeing for a better year next year.

    • Oh, Gail, I am so sorry. I’ve been let go a couple times, and it’s scary–because the bills have to be paid–and also daunting to deal with the uncertainty and change. I commend your husband for taking the job that was available, and for not giving up. I hope all the hardship you faced in 2017 is balanced with good luck and new opportunities in 2018.

  40. I enjoy the cooler temperatures and bright colours of early fall. I appreciate the lower pollen counts and insect/mould dormancy after a few hard frosts.
    I love Halloween. We see 300 – 350 trick-or-treaters.
    I do most of my buying in the fall. There is Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. One must wear more clothing, shoes, boots and coats. It’s a season to prepare for the days where one can only sit by a fire and hope that the power doesn’t fail.
    January brings new calendars and the seed catalogues.
    March is actually my least favourite month…

    • March is so danged loooonnng, and it’s neither winter nor spring, at least where I live. We can get snowstorms in March or 90 degree days, or both. I can put pansies out in March, and that helps bolster my spirits. Even if it’s only a few porch pots, it’s bright color, and by March, I need that.

  41. I find myself enjoying the sunny days in the winter, but not the cold dreary ones. I try to make the best of them though with a good book and something hot to drink. I keep looking forward to when the days start getting longer and very much look forward to spring.

    • I know when I had horses on the property, and feeding them in the winter was such a chore (feeding in the dark both morning and night, breaking ice out of water buckets, hoping the pipes didn’t freeze, mucking frozen pony doots…) our coldest week is usually the third week in January, but that’s a month away from the darkest day, and by the end of January, I was aware of the lengthening days. It was still colder than heck, but not as dark, and that helped.

  42. Reading, definitely more reading happens in the cooler months here in Massachusetts. But, after having retired a year ago, I’m finding that without a schedule, I no longer feel “productive!” I purchased a new sewing machine with all the bells and whistles…..a year ago. It’s still in the box. This winter, I will teach myself about all the new “tricks” it can do, and perhaps even sew something! To solve the lack of schedule problem, I joined a local gym that has water aerobics, and as much as I hate exercise, attend three mornings a week. Sometimes, I actually enjoy it.

    • As I’m winding down my law practice, I have something of the same issue. I need to write about 2000 words a day to make my publishing schedule happen, and if I have Things to Do, like I have to be in the office by 1:30, those words seem to get written in the morning. If I’m having an at home day, the words can take all day to appear.
      I’m poking around for a place to take riding lessons, because I know I’ll show up for those, and having the lessons on the calendar might result in more efficient writing.
      Or not.

  43. I live in high desert NM. We have 4 seasons, but they don’t always arrive in the same way as they did back East where I grew up. Last Friday the high temperature was 73 degrees F. Sunday it was 28 degrees F when I woke up. We have a lengthy period of 30-40 degree temperature swings before things settle in. I, too, sleep better snug under blankets and I love the holidays. Albuquerque, where I live, tends to have heavy snow about every 6-7 years. We’re due! Bracing for the cold and looking forward to a sunny Winter

    • One of my brothers lives up in Galisteo, so I know a little bit of the weather you face. He loves it there. Says that almost every day, no matter the time of year, there’s a stretch of hours where it’s lovely to be outside. Might be the middle of the day in winter, or the early morning in summer, but it’s a climate where you can get outside regularly and enjoyably.

  44. I live in northern Minnesota about two and a half hours from Canada.
    Winter usually comes early to our area. With the onset of winter approaching we change gears in our daily approach to life. Out comes the snow scoops or snow plows. Out comes the winter weight clothing.
    Ice fishing gear replaces the summer tackle.
    We pack away all and I don’t mean all, light weight clothing along with the bikes and skateboards!
    Because of the season change process we are ready y for whatever mother nature throws at us.
    I, for one, am not a cold weather fan so I am in a funk for a while until I acclimate to shorter days, less sun and cold.

    • I asked one of my friends from the far north how she coped, and shes said you just have to find a winter activity you love, whether that’s skijoring, ice fishing, hot yoga at the Y, skating… I think my winter sport might be cookie scarfing.

  45. Ready for the cold. I can cover up enough to get warm, but you do not want me to take off enough to get cool. Lol. I could read longer than three months at a time. As for in a funk, don’t think so pretty happy person. Love to catalog shop. I love your books.