the power of the snow day

I started writing this yesterday and couldn’t wrap it up without feeling like an insensitive jerk. Snow days are not luxurious for everyone and I absolutely realize that and I hope everyone gets to and from where they need to go safely and warmly. That being said…

The last day and a half (and let’s face it, we’re probably not done) have been an introvert’s dream. Sure, I typically set aside a fair amount of my time for myself. If you call me in the evening to go do something and I don’t already have plans, I’ll be tempted to say yes, but will probably still tell you I’m busy because I have already committed myself to stay home and do nothing. And by “do nothing” I mean watch TV (a healthy and balanced rotation of Netflix, Hulu, and the recently re-acquired HBOgo), write, dance, drink chardonnay, take a bath, listen to “The Stranger” by Billy Joel, and eat a substantial amount of popcorn. I’m not a total homebody – I spend the majority of my time outside of my house with friends and strangers in Nashville and all over the world, which means that each decision to stay in follows a fierce internal debate between my love for solitude and my fear of missing out #FOMO. But this is different from that designated introvert time in which I regularly indulge. A snow day is MANDATED BY NATURE.

Believe me, I wholeheartedly realize that this weather event is not as impressive as others around the world. I’m not insisting or even suggesting that Nashville’s #icepocalypse2015 is severe enough to warrant this type of shutdown. I’m used to the overhyped predictions and the underprepared Dept. of Public Works. As much fun as it is to complain about things that no single human can control, the lack of “real snow” experience in my childhood and current life stage has never disappointed me because I know where to set my expectations. I’m used to being mocked by my friends who live in snowier climates while we hunker down with our milk and bread to wait out a fruitless threat of a wintry mix. But I’m quite content with my rare delivery on winter weather.

When the bands and blobs of pink radar float across middle Tennessee and precipitation does occur, it’s all the more lovely. Not lovely in a “oh, what fun it is to slide down a hill that looks like it could spit you right out into the street” kind of way. Not lovely in a “it sure is pretty but I’m glad we don’t have to shovel it every day for one-third of the year” kind of way. But lovely in a “sorry, i can’t. i’m trapped inside my home and my pro/con list is all pros” kind of way. Unlike anticipating a snow day in high school, I’m not frantically praying for enough ice to delay my physics test a day or two – just casually hoping for some everyday, totally do-able deprivations. Can’t go for a run — too slick! Can’t run errands — no reason to put myself and others in danger! Can’t go to work — office is closed!

It’s a sick day, but you feel fine. It’s a called-in-sick day, but you didn’t have to lie! Sure, I have the luxury of being able to work remotely and I just may take advantage of that luxury at some point today (maybe tomorrow… definitely by Thursday). In anticipation of this storm, I toyed with the idea of “accidentally” leaving my laptop at work, but thankfully decided against that. And I do remember, without much fondness, the days when being kept from working my hours somewhere felt like the complete opposite of a free vacation.

I’m also grateful to have not yet lost power in my house. I do not take for granted my warmth, my freezer full of food, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, my dear love Stevie the TV (© Joey Tribbiani, I know). My body, certainly, and my mind, almost as certainly, will be just fine to continue this unplanned hiatus for a couple more days if necessary. If I can’t get out of my driveway tomorrow afternoon, I’ll be shuffling on foot to M.L. Rose for a beer with a side of some 3-dimensional interaction — and a few of you may be targeted for a long overdue catch-up phone call. But for the most part, I’ll take what I can get and relish every moment of this rare and beautiful gift of a completely unplanned, uncontrolled, uninterruptible day (or three) to myself.

In the middle of writing this, I came across Linda Holmes’s blog post about grown-up snow days that is really great and, like most things she writes, I wish I had written it myself. 

For a captivating bird’s eye view of Whitney’s expected decline from the joys of solitude to the maddening boredom of cabin fever, follow her tweets at @boothiooo. 46 hours and counting…

my sober january

I’m weary of explaining why in god’s name I willingly chose to give up alcohol for a whole month. After 31 days, I’m not even sure if it was still true, but I suppose it’s the same reason that anyone does anything — to try and change something, see what happens, or make a difference. I don’t know about any of that, but I survived and now I feel the need to reflect on how I’ve been changed, or not so much, by this harrowing experience.

The month had it’s low points, but overall, it was absolutely do-able. It feels good to know I can do this and it feels even better to know that I don’t “have to” do it anymore. While my lifestyle didn’t undergo drastic changes during the month of sobriety, I kept myself pretty busy and got some things done that I may or may not have gotten around to with a drink in my hand. Sure, enjoying a cold, hoppy beer doesn’t necessarily get in the way of personal productivity. A glass or two of boxed chardonnay isn’t the glue that holds me to the couch. But I must admit that I noticed a bump in my level of motivation to cross some things off my beloved to-do list during that month. (I should also note that I’m not normally at home quite this much, but the combination of my “I’ll just have a water, thanks” and a dip in social activity that January tends to bring as a recovery from the over-stimulation of forced holiday cheer, I leaned into my introvert side and spent more nights than usual in my warm and cozy house.) So here’s what I did in January while I wasn’t drinking:

1. i organized my bathroom cabinet. that’s all i’ve got to say about that. it’s pretty great now, if i do say so myself.


2. tea. allow me to be more specific: HOT TEA. it’s amazing. it’s freezing outside and there’s nothing like a nice cup of hot sleepytime tea to round off your night. okay, so there are a lot of things better than hot tea to round off your night, but it’s fairly pleasant! the ritual of brewing the water in my beautiful mustard-colored kettle, picking a nice mug…it’s no glass of chard, but it was cozy and delicious and i liked it. (and i’ve even opted for tea a few times in february!)

3. jewelry tree. most of my earrings are crammed in my handbag until they eventually fall apart. in january, i found the time to locate all the fragmented and dislocated pieces of jewelry and arrange them nicely on this tree. it’s been a big month.


4. la croix. i feel like a total ass attempting to pronounce it, but it’s pretty good. it’s mostly water, which confuses me a great deal. and you can drink it out of a wine glass at girls’ night and feel like slightly less of a complete loser.

5. friends is on netflix now. YES, i have 10 seasons of DVDs, but this is sooo much more convenient. i ask for your accolades, not judgment, in response to the news that i am nearing the end of season 6 (and yes, Netflix released it on Jan 1). it is even more wonderful and hilarious than i recalled from my previous binges and i’m grateful for the wireless technology that now allows me, in theory, to experience a full ten-year range of emotion without ever having to dig myself out of the memory foam.

guess whooooooo?


6. tenx9. tenx9 nashville is a fantastic storytelling group that gathers monthly to hear nine people tell a story in ten minutes or less. i’m grateful to have found this group and for the two opportunities to share my stories in this context. i told a story in january (the theme was “beginnings”) and i’m going to post it soon. learn more here – they are great folks.

7. tennis. after years of making excuses, i finally made the drastic leap to send an email expressing interest in a local tennis league. it’s pretty sad and i’m pretty excited.

8. cork wreath. sure, it’s no longer christmas and i’m not even sure this thing will fit between my door and my storm door, BUT taking away my beer and giving me a glue gun means there’s gonna be some crafting. i think it looks pretty good and it only took me 3 “gilmore girls” to make it!IMG_4898

9. cooking. for christmas this year, santa brought me a dutch oven and some crazy sharp knives, so watch out spaghetti squash! did i mention i was also doing #whole30? terrible life choice, but i made some delicious dishes, including a homemade tom kha and a tasty pad thai. (note: the onset of february has employed the microwave a bit more and everyone is still doing quite fine.)

10. flannery o’connor. i’m auditing a class at VDS (a sure sign of my continued recovery from my theological education) called “the incarnational art of flannery o’connor”. she is so amazing and brilliant that i feel i should never attempt to write words ever again. (this post is not a great source out of which to build a counter-argument.) if you haven’t read any of her work, i recommend the short story “good country people”.