I’ve hit my limit. First twenty inches of snow, next fifteen below wind-chill and now I’ve got a fever to boot. Do you know how hard it is to think with a fever? You start out writing a simple blog intro and end up reading about the origin of ‘to boot.’ Apparently totally unrelated to footwear, the phrase may derive from the Old English ‘bat’ meaning good or useful—two things this digression is not. Not to mention the fever dreams. Last night I dreamed a Burlesque troupe tried to recruit me by seeing if I’d answer to the name they’d chosen for me: Salmon.
Before I got sick, I’d stayed on top of winter rage and depression by doing copious amounts of yoga and eating cookies, both healthy activities. At times, I felt only my Vinyasas stood between me and a meltdown worthy of Jack Torrance. But yoga while feverish is inadvisable, and I haven’t been able to taste anything since Sunday. So now it’s just me and Brothers & Sisters on Netflix instant. (Why did critics like this show? Non-sequiturs comprise all exchanges, each episode ends with syrupy music over family montages and no one recognizes the symptoms of juvenile diabetes.)
Clearly, I’m no poster child for Sane Winter Survival, (I’m not sure who is, but I picture her looking like Celine Dion. All in white, hair streaming, eyes fixed and faraway. Probably the fever. Let’s move on.) so I decided to turn to readers for advice.
I started by volunteering my cookie/yoga regime, and graduate student Brenna Kischuk weighed in with her response. “Same here,” she wrote, “if you replace cookies with tequila and yoga with online shopping binges.” Local artist Freddie Levin (who—whoa foreshadowing-- I’ll be interviewing in an upcoming blog) chimed in, “Same here, if you replace tequila with mashed potatoes and online shopping with document shredding.”
Obviously humor is key to enduring a Chicago winter, but what specific practical steps are residents taking? Writer Tara Walker says “pastries help,” and not surprisingly advocates “books, books, books.” Other readers choose a more active stance. Haute Dish server Aileen Keown Vaux, who recently moved from Chicago to Minnesota, says “exercise. Force yourself to go outside, whether for a walk, a snowball fight, or to breathe fresh air.” Long time Chicagoan Daphne Baille takes a similarly sporty if less physical tact. “NFL,” she says, “Australian Open. March Madness. Too bad it's not an Olympic year too!”
Also in readers’ bags of tricks: candles, fresh flowers, a fire in the fireplace, and seasonal food. When all else fails, says North Lake dweller Linda Michels, “don't agonize over winter, embrace it. It’s happening no matter what. Get out there and jump into a snowdrift! I did! It was fun!”
Not the best option for me at the moment, still, salmon for thought.
A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. Follow Our Town on Facebook and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez