Embracing Winter

I am so incredibly exhausted about people complaining about winter. Complaining about complaining, table for one.

We live in the Midwest, I understand it is practically a competition to complain about which state does winter worse. The weather is one of the three socially acceptable things we can talk about at social gatherings [you know this: football, weather, directions/traffic].

But here’s the rub – we need winter. The plants we like to eat and the animals that eat plants that we love to eat need winter. Mother Nature demands a cooling down, a time to reset. The is so much more to winter than scraping your car windshield and salting your driveway. Of course, getting out requires effort but it’s worth it. It worth it in the summer and it’s worth it in the winter too. Winter is completely natural, even if inconvenient, and it’s been wintering here since the end of the last Ice Age. Plus, what a waste of energy complaining about something you can’t control that manages to come around every year without fail and is a full quarter of the year!

gull lake~brainerd mn~the comyn space

So, enough with the whining. It is our cold winters, our brutal summers, our endurance through whatever the weather throws our way that makes us strong. There is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Put on your snow boots, the good hat and get out and enjoy winter. The woods are never more serene than they are on a cold crisp day. It’s worth it, I promise.

2015: One Little Word

Inspired by oh-so-many bloggers I read who do One Little Word, I’m giving it a try for the first time in 2015.

It just came to me and while I don’t think it’s really ‘sexy’ enough to be my OLW, I can’t shake it. So PUSH, it is. I looked it up and a few of the definitions really stuck out to me.

Push: verb, 1-exert force on (someone or something), 2-move forward, noun, 2- a vigorous effort to do or obtain something.

This will guide my other resolutions, which I’m not really putting out for global consumption, but this will be the year to push myself with making local friends, push myself in my career (I’m finally working on my job goals, woohoo!), push our budget and put in a vigorous effort.


2014: Year in Review

Whew! What a year 2014 has been! I know that everyone says that but seriously how did the year go by so incredibly quickly? Here’s a look at the year that was…

Let’s start with books, shall we?
Book count: 37

Most moving book – I Shall be Near to You

Most recommended book – tie between Mr. Penumbra’s 24 hr Book Store and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Most Reread: Harry Potter series – SO glad I did this this year!

And now for movies…
Movie count: 129

Film wise, this was the year of the SWINTON, at least for me. I realized halfway through Snowpiercer that she can literally be anything, anyone. She is magic.

My top films of the year are…
1- Only Lovers Left Alive
2- The Grand Budapest Hotel
3- Snowpiercer
4- The Imitation Game
5- The Lego Movie
6- The One I Love
7- Maleficient

family vacation 2014~thecomynspace.com

Life wise, this was our first full year of living in Ohio. Last January, we went to Minnesota for cross country skiing and family time. It also brought a seasonal lay off M and a new car for our family. Spring was job hunting and hunkering down in the insane polar vortex. We started our journey to hit up all the Columbus Metro Parks, one we’re still working on! April meant a return to outdoor education for M. June brought a work trip to Atlanta for me. My favorite time of the year -SUMMER- brought the 4th of July was spent at an awesome party at my parents, with a walk down to Whetstone Park for fireworks. My older sister came up for the State Fair in August and then M and I headed up to the South Shore of Lake Superior to his family’s cabin to see his parents, sister & her family and his aunt. Fall brought both of us busy seasons at work but we snuck away for my birthday to Pittsburgh, our first trip alone in over two years. We’re wrapping up a busy holiday season with eyes on 2015. I’m going to do a ‘one little word’ for 2015, for the first time, so I’ll be sharing more on that soon too.

pittsburgh~the comyn space

Crow Wing State Park & Sunrise over Mille Lacs

So, we finally bit the bullet and purchased cross country skis as a Christmas present for each other this year, after years of talking about taking the plunge. Of course, we brought them with us to Central Minnesota, which was hit with unseasonable rain just days before we arrived. Of course! So M and I took a brisk walk in -1 degree weather around the park he used to live at, Crow Wing State Park. It was super pretty but I do wish I’d thought to put on some long johns first ;-)

christmas 20141

christmas 20142

On the drive out of town, we stopped at a scenic overlook to take a picture of the sunrise.
christmas 20143

What I Read: December ’14

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach: Roach’s writing is approachable and very tidy. While she takes a deep dive into human cadavers, she never loses their humanity and even manages to keep a light tone. While she doesn’t explore the toll that burial takes on the environment, she does explore other more modern options and helps illustrate how much good a cadaver can do for science.

Second Person Singular by Sayed Kashua: Offda! This one took me a long time to get through, Kashua switches narratives and times with impunity. I found the main character to be an incredibly chauvinist, with the plot wholly revolving around a years old note and his instance desire to exact punishment on her for the perceived infidelity. I picked this up because I was missing Mahfouz’s writing and wanted to check out other work from the Middle East in translation but I think I’ll need to do a bit more hunting in the future.

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew #1) by Carolyn Keene: I have this in the original 1930 version, which is what I read as a kid. As much as I love Nancy Drew, I couldn’t help noticing the horrific slang that Keene foisted upon the only character of color while allowing Drew to commit crimes (trespassing) and be lauded as the hero of the story. I’m eager to re-read the rest of the original ones I do have, but with a more critical adult eye.

What I Watched: Locke, Noah, Wreck It Ralph, The One I Love, Muppets Christmas Carol, Elf, The Imitation Game, Into the Woods

Glacier Ridge Metro Park ~ Columbus OH

Over the weekend, we went to Glacier Ridge for a walk in the woods. I was very surprised to find no ridge or woods at Glacier Ridge! All the tree stands in the main park were less than 40 years old – which makes total sense for reclaimed farm land. However, they also grow hay in the park and you can see directly into a subdivision on part of the main loop. Now, if I lived in said subdivision – I’d be thrilled with a Metro Park so close to home! While I’m glad we knocked this one off the list {we were trying to get all the Metro Parks this year}, I doubt I’ll be back until I can strong arm my sister and her horse going for a trail ride with me there.

glacier ridge metro park~columbus OH

glacier ridge metro park~columbus OH

What I Read: November ’14

The Dinner by Herman Koch: I read this for my book club, but I’m so glad I did! Billed as the European Gone Girl, The Dinner is a thriller, set over a long dinner between two brothers and their wives. I can’t really describe the plot without fear of giving away the twist. While I did thoroughly enjoy the book, I found a few places in the story to be plodding, with such a tight narrative structure, the few loose places certainly showed.

Expecting Better by Emily Oster: Debunking pregnancy rules with science; plus it doesn’t hurt that Oster is frank and personable. Who doesn’t love that?

Yes, Please by Amy Poehler: Hilarious. With a dose of the kind of advice you’d expect your girlfriends to hand over tacos and margaritas. Absolutely worth reading.

What I Watched: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Persepolis, Kingpin, Inception, Snowpiercer, Anatasia, Batman (1989), Batman Returns, The Addams Family Values, Down Periscope, Advanced Style, Much Ado About Nothing (2012), The Duchess, Your Sister’s Sister, Jane Eyre (2011), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Please Subscribe, Clerks,