Winter’s Joys (Really).

It’s March, and there’s only so much complaining you can do about the sleet, the slush and the potholes, so today I’m going to talk about the joys of winter.

The snow’s piling up outside my window as I write this, but I’m looking on the bright side. While it’s true the third month of the year often seems to last 60 days, optimism is not a fool’s attitude. The light is coming back, kids, and spring is around the corner. Really.

As to the season we’ll soon kick to the curb, here’s my list of things that make me happy in the winter:

Good Mittens:  Warm hands are happy hands, am I right?

Are these mittens, or are these mittens?

Gloves are okay on chilly days, but when it is really cold, mittens offer your fingers the opportunity to huddle together for warmth. I have several pair for bitter cold days, like those I’m modeling  here in a photo taken a couple of years ago on New Year’s Day when the wind was howling during one of our #SundayBeachWalks.

Heated Seats:  Though a latecomer to this innovation, I’m a total convert. There’s nothing that eases your drive to or from work on a cold day like a warm bottom, and it’s good for a lower back ache, too. I have had many cars that were slow to warm up (if they warmed up at all) and recall plenty of teeth- chattering drives when it was too cold to even sing along with the radio. But these days I’m toasty warm on my commute, and that makes me happy, happy, happy.

Plenty of Windshield Washer Fluid:  Who among us hasn’t pulled the little windshield washer lever and instead of the expected gush of blue fluid, gotten a bare trickle woefully insufficient to wash the road grit and grime off the windshield? It’s horrible—especially while driving on the highway—and kind of terrifying at night. What a joy it is to know that you have a topped off reservoir and with the flick of your finger can wash away whatever crap the SUV in front of you is spewing your way.

My winter bible.

Soup: Making soup, especially on Sundays, has become my superpower of late. I was gifted with a wonderful soup cookbook two Christmases ago and have been working my way through it.

Last weekend was a creamy cauliflower soup topped with crispy prosciutto. Tomorrow will be chicken stew.  By spring I’ll tuck it away and pull out the grill, but right now, it just looking at the cover makes me happy.

Lighting the Yard Until The Light Comes Back: We are not the sort of people who leave our holiday lights up year-round (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But for the past few years we’ve embraced solar-powered lights and it has changed our life. No more stepping out onto the icy deck in our slippers to unplug the things before retiring for the night. Our deck railing is wrapped with white and multi-colored mini lights and strings of larger white lights hang from a trellis and fence posts on the edge of the yard. It’s a small thing, but a happy thing.

The best thing is they turn themselves on and off.

Books. This goes without saying, yes?  I’ve not finished working my way through the holiday book stack yet, but have added to it lately with two much-anticipated books.

MCW alum Barbara Ross published a delightful novella called PERKED UP in a collection with Leslie Meier and Lee Hollis. A complement to Barb’s wonderful Maine Clambake series, it has a St. Patrick’s Day theme.  I finished it this snowy morning and enjoyed it tremendously. Soon I plan to try the Irish Soda Bread recipe Barb included in the back to see how it stacks up to my dear departed Mum’s.

The other book that has me buzzing with excitement is my friend Cheryl Head’s standalone novel TIME’S UNDOING, a dual-timeline novel about a young Detroit journalist who travels to Birmingham, Alabama to dig for the truth about the 1929 murder of her great-grandfather when the Klan was on a prolonged reign of terror.  The reporter’s research alarms people who want to keep ugly secrets buried, putting her life in danger.

Cheryl’s inspiration for this book is her own grandfather’s murder, which makes it all the more powerful.  She’ll be attending the Maine Crime Wave Conference in June to talk about TIME’S UNDOING, which has received rave reviews.  I’m beyond thrilled for her, and cannot wait to read what I know is a project of her heart.

What makes you happy in the winter? What books have you enjoyed and what are you eager to read? Any good soup recipes? 

Brenda Buchanan brings years of experience as a journalist and a lawyer to her crime fiction. She has published three books featuring Joe Gale, a newspaper reporter who covers the crime and courts beat. She is now hard at work on new projects. FMI, go to





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8 Responses to Winter’s Joys (Really).

  1. John Clark says:

    And let us not forget spring training and town meetings where they still happen (Maine’s homegrown spectator sport).

    • Brenda Buchanan says:

      Ah, Town Meeting! A spectator sport right up there with the Maine high school basketball championships on MBPN (though sadly, only the championship games nowadays . . . ) And spring training. Of course, though more prayerful with this year’s Sox than in some past years . . .

  2. kaitcarson says:

    The first snowfall makes me happy and shoveling. Go figure! I like the exercise of it and the measurable progress. Soup, oh, yes. Cheddar cheese soup is on the menu for this week – best of it, you make it in a slow cooker! Spring is coming. Can’t wait for the first crocus.

  3. maggierobinsonwriter says:

    Love this positive post! One of my favorite things about winter is decorating the house for Christmas. A couple of years ago, I decided to keep a fake Christmas tree up all year long, because why not? I love the reflection of the lights on our dining room windows, and change the ornaments with the seasons/holidays. This weekend I took the hearts off and topped the tree with bunny ears and hung eggs, even if we have a thousand feet of snow outside. Spring will be here soon, at least according to the calendar.

    • Brenda Buchanan says:

      Maggie, your posts and comments always make me smile.

      Karen Coffin, Bruce’s wife, is a year-round Christmas fan. I’m not sure if she decorates her tree for all of the intervening holidays like you do (can we have some pix?) but Christmas absolutely is her happy place.

  4. Sandra Neily says:

    Brenda…..I just loved this for so many more reasons than the great mitten and smile pic. I have shared the post with other Cabin Fever folks. Much appreciated!!!

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