*8Things: To Enjoy in the Dark

8things from Magpie Girl

Here in Copenhagen, at roughly the same latitude as Anchorage, Alaska, the days are dark in Winter. The sun makes her weakened appearance slowly around 9:30am and leaves us a mere 7 hours later around 4pm. During the time the skies tend to be grey, the cloud cover low, and the mood somber. Thankfully, Winter Solstice is just around the corner. But there are still plenty of dark days to come before Spring burst through our doors.

What do you do during this season to make it through the darkness? How do you fight S.A.D.? What parts of the season can you embrace with honesty? What *8Things  do you enjoy in the dark? (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.) I’ll tell you mine, if you’ll tell me yours…

  1. Sleep: We turn into bears around here and hibernate, hibernate, hibernate. Studies show that you can “catch up” on lost sleep, and accumulate the rest you need. Why not stockpile some snoozing while the days are dark?
  2. Read: I love curling up in my bed on a winter’s night, or on the couch during a slow grew weekend – if I have a good book.  It’s also a great time for creative journaling and working through things like Keri Smith’s How to Be An Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum, or Carrie McCarthy’s  Style Statement: Live by your own Design. What are you reading these days?
  3. Knit: Now is the time for hand crafts. I learned how from Stitch and Bitch, and with the help of one yarn-shop class. Now I’m working on this and this, and have made all of this.
  4. Bake:Now this one is a little dangerous, because all that sleeping and reading, plus the baking can make me a little rolly polly. But I do love to bake muffins and cookies in the winter time. You can find some of my favorites here. This year I’m learning to cook gluten free. Hopefully I’ll find some new favorites soon.
  5. Board Games: We keep trying to institute a family game night. But who wants to play Risk when the sun is shining? But in the dark evenings it’s nice to turn on some tunes, get out a bowl of nuts, and play a few rounds of something. This year the girls are becoming card sharks: Rook, Flinch, Gin Rummy and Texas Hold ‘Em are all getting practiced ‘round here.
  6. Walk in the Dark: My city is very safe, and I love walking in the pre-dawn hours. Let’s face it, if dawn was earlier than 8am, I’d never get up early enough to see the light grow. So this time of year is special, private treat of walking the lake alone in the dim.
  7. Bundle Up: I love scarves and hats, so this time of year is fun for me. I like picking the right combo and layering away. And with my pledge to go A Year Without Clothes, I’m also layering my regular clothes more to make my Winter wardrobe stretch.
  8. Oatmeal: I adore hot cereals, and in the winter they seem like a must. Oatmeal, varmt museli, risengrol, and cream of wheat are my cold season favs for stick-to-you-ribs warmth. (Have you tried it baked? Yum!)

What is your list of *8Things: To Enjoy in the Dark? Tell us in the comments or grab a button and play long by putting your permalink in the list below.

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Dee Wilcox December 17, 2009 at 2:21 pm

I love this, Rachelle! Our days aren’t quite as short as yours – the sun is up around 6:30/7, and it’s dark by 5/5:30, so I guess we have three extra hours of light. Spring seems like forever and ever away.

Here’s what we’ll be doing in the dark:

1. Packing. If I have to be packing, then this is as good a time as any. :)
2. Making homemade sweets. I made salted caramels last night, and I have about ten new recipes bookmarked. Can’t wait to try them!
3. Reading. I’m working on “12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women” right now. Loving it so far! And of course the fifty or so blog I subscribe to keep my reading bucket stocked!
4. Sewing. This is a great time of year to break out my sewing machine.
5. Planning next year’s garden. Even though I’ll be six hours away, I am planing our garden’s next season and preparing to make it as self-sustainable as possible.
6. Spending time with friends. The summer months are so busy, and I’ve found that these cooler months are a great time to reconnect.
7. Spending time with family. Cold months are a great time to snuggle at home. :)
8. Planning for spring. When those warmer months and sunshine finally get here, I’ll be ready. :)

Rachelle December 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Thanks Dee. What a fun list. I miss planning out my garden and look forward to winter with seed catalogs when I eventually get back to the States.

Lori-Lyn December 17, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Mmmm, great list. I’m going to be looking into baked oatmeal!

Cindy Spencer December 17, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Can’t resist this one, ‘cuz I actually like sinking into our dark Seattle days – at least until it gets old in January! (I don’t know why, but I think the solstice should make everything better quickly!)

1. Soup! We love to make and eat hearty winter soups!
2. and Bread! Husband is an every other day artisan bread baker. Goes well with the soup.
3. Work our way through long movies or tv series with our 3 teens. It’s our last year before our oldest goes off to college, and we’re trying to finish Angel. Not as fun as Buffy or Firefly (which was, of course, much too short!).
4. Games. Carcasonne with its many additions makes frequent appearances, as do simple short card games like Idiot, and my boys (husband and 13 and 18 year olds) are playing Acquire frequently.
5. Candles. Got to love the dark when it’s filled with candles.
6. Reading through teen novels with my 15 year old daughter. Sort of parallel play for those of us older than preschool! We read books and then trash them together!
7. Walks in the dark with husband – at night. Can’t manage the morning and get off to work.
8. Seasonal special events – O Antiphons at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Greenlake luminary walk, concerts, Christmas Pageant, etc.

KAren December 17, 2009 at 9:52 pm

I discovered your blog through some other blogs and I love the idea of *8things.

So I linked up and am playing along. Thanks for the prompts.


Kat December 18, 2009 at 3:11 am

I love 8 Things. Love reading it, love making my own list. It just makes me happy. Thank you!

Rachelle December 18, 2009 at 10:37 am

I totally dig how much people like *8Things. It’s funny, because it just started out as a word doc that opened to make lists of things that were distracting me. Follow your impulses! Someone else might need that though you have that you are discounting as “silly.”

Thanks for playing everyone — and for all the winter/dark survival tips.


P.s. I slept two hours today after the kids went to school! Maybe I really AM turning into a hibernating bear!

Bev Baird December 19, 2009 at 3:41 am

What fun this was. Discovered your meme through Karen and love the idea of list making about different topics. Have joined in.

wholly jeanne December 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm

i like to clean house in the dark. goes a lot faster when you can’t see.

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