Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Introvert in Winter

I accidentally took this picture of myself the other morning. I was trying to take pictures of winter foliage, but must have hit the reverse button on my camera.

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend. A two-and-a-half hour lunch in which we gossiped, discussed the difficulties of raising one's 80-year-old parents, and agreed that it's always important to carry your needlework with you (needlepoint in her case, knitting in mine) at all times, because you never know when a meeting's going to get boring.

Afterwards, I popped over to see some friends at the nonprofit I volunteer at three or four times a month. The staff consists of two women I adore, one of whom is my age, but single and dating and always has interesting updates on her love life. So, yes, more gossip.

That doesn't sound very introverted, does it--two-hour lunches and popping in on friends after for another hit of talk? Well, of course I was exhausted aftewards--that's the real test of an introvert, isn't it? And I was engaged in what I called Introvert Winter Survival Strategy. When the days look like this:

then it's time to get out and about. I find that one good day of socializing inoculates me against the winter blues for at least two days afterward.


I am in a cooking mood. Now, I cook every day, whether I'm in the mood to or not. But when the prospect of chopping an onion strikes me as fun and a little exciting, that's when I know it's about to get interesting in the kitchen. Conversely, when I can't stand even thinking about mincing a garlic clove, then it's time to make a big pot of hearty soup that will carry us through several days. Or else order a pizza.

But right now I'm in a mood. I always love to cook this time of year, and now that I have a new oven AND a new chef's knife (a very scary 8" Wusthuf that I got for Christmas), why, I'm practically Julia Child.

In fact, I'm reading a book about Julia Child right now, called Provence 1970 by Luke Barr. It's about a moment in time when a group of some of the most exciting American cooks and food writers (Child, M.F.K. Fisher, James Beard, Richard Olney) gathered together in an informal culinary summit. It's lots of fun.

I'm also reading a book I got Jack for Christmas called Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell, a chef at Chez Panisse. Peternell got the idea for the book after realizing his eldest son was about to head off for college and didn't know how to cook the basics. I really got the book for both Jack and me, since I'm not always sure I know how to cook the basics. The recipes are wonderful, and for the first time in my life I can fry an egg with confidence.

This morning I spent thirty minutes in front of my S.A.D. lamp. That also helps keep the winter blues away. What do you do (those of you experiencing winter--I know some of you are in the throes of summer!) to make this time of year not only bearable, but downright enjoyable?


Pom Pom said...

You'd like the film The Hundred Foot Journey for the cooking aspect! Yum!
That's so true about meetings getting boring. I am so free from meetings now. Thank you , Jesus!

Angela said...

Knit. Chat. Read. Bake. And look at the blogs of my friends. Do not worry about photographing yourself by mistake- the guy from the local paper came to interview us today about our burglary, and tooK a picture of the inside of his camera bag!

Tracy said...

I must confess, I am a winter-loving gal. This summer thing is very draining. All the heat and the sweat and the wilting in the heat and the sweat. I spend a good three months of the year feeling very floppy.

In winter If I can cozy myself up inside with a good book, a warm blanket to wrap myself up in and watch the weather go by my windows I am supremely happy. A cheery fire in the fireplace always gladens my heart as well. I do get a little tired of dull skies, so I try to wear bright coloured clothes. That is a little tricky, given the colour of Melbourne is black and all the retailers believe they can sell is black, but I try.

And friends. Even us introverts need people, if only for smaller spaces of time. I know you can imagine being in a house with three other people all day over summer holidays is my most draining time of the year.

Nancy McCarroll said...

Yes, my SAD light works for me.

There is an author you might like: Harriett Doerr. The writing workshop this weekend has us read "The Tiger in the Grass", one of her works. She was born in 1901. You will like her.

Glad you have friends; hunker on down and enjoy the winter as much as you can.

Jo said...

Go Julia! I know how it goes. I have instructed my friends to call me if they haven't heard from me in a couple of weeks, and force me to go out with them. It does help, doesn't it, but the thought of going out inevitably makes me horribly grumpy. Interestingly, as soon as I'm in company I am immensely sociable and can be the life of the party. I just need someone to drag me there..

Leslie said...

Your unintentional picture turned out rather nice. You have beautiful skin. I am feeling a little too fluffy lately (it was those gingerbread and meringue cookies, darn it) and I know that contributes to my icky feeling. But oddly enough, I feel like I've seen too many people lately and during a difficult week of getting back into the routine. I get to be alone for half of tomorrow and am looking forward to it.

Gumbo Lily said...

I like the photo you took of yourself! Happy accident.

I cook every single day, except for days when we go to town which aren't very often. I get a little sick of chopping, and since we are eating more salads and veggies, there's a lot of chopping. I really want to get a few entrees figured out that are low carb, mostly veggies and meat.

I DO like to cook most of the time. I have Julia Child's cookbook, The Art of French Cooking, and it's fun to both read from and cook from.

One foodie book that I dearly loved was called: Joie de Vivre by Robert Arbor. He beautifully talks about everyday French cooking. Another fun foodie book is The Man Who Ate Everything.

Getting along with winter: taking walks despite the cold, snowshoeing, making a set time for enjoying coffee or tea and a little nibble of something. Usually 3-ish in the afternoon. Handiwork is good. Vitamin D3 is a must for us.


GretchenJoanna said...

Gee, maybe it's the time of year that made me suddenly subscribe to *two* cooking magazines in one day!

Ali said...

I'm often in a cooking mood this time of year too - I think it's because all the foods of Christmas are traditional and expected and after that is out of the way, I tend to feel more experimental. Plus Santa has often left me a cookbook or gadget to play with, which is always good.

But honestly - I just look for signs of Spring and hope this bit of winter passes quickly.