My favourite things to do on a blustery winter day

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Last Saturday’s aberrant snowstorm notwithstanding, I love winter. I think it’s because of my predisposition to piping hot sweets and cuddly sweaters – no sooner does the air get that dash of crispness, and the first faded leaf twitters to the ground, that I wake up with a craving for warm apple pie and an urge to order ten new turtle-necks from the Land’s End catalogue.

Here are some of my favourite things to do during a freak snowstorm, or on a particularly chilly winter day, best enjoyed from your apartment window with a steaming mug of tea or coffee, watching the flakes drift down and gather at the pane, like little Kay in the The Snow Queen. What are some of yours?

  • Knitting

My goal is to be at least half as good a knitter as Naani, my maternal grandmother was, from whom I learnt my first slip-knot at age 8, and my other grandma, Aunty Z, who re-introduced me to this meditative woolly pleasure at age 25. They were true maestras, these women, with every little sweater knitted for a grandchild a timeless work of art. I’m just a beginner, at the oh-no-I-dropped-a-stitch scarf-mode, but hopefully I’ll get  somewhere near them one day!

An in-progress reversible cabled scarf I'm knitting for my sister
Z, wearing the double-ribbed scarf I made for him last winter
  • Baking / Desserts

I’ve always liked making desserts, and I like to eat them even more. Since coming to America, though, I’ve been spoiled by Keebler pie crusts and Pillsbury and Trader Joe’s baking mixes. But sometimes, you just need to sink your teeth into a crispy, flaky, butter-glazed, hand-kneaded pie crust.

Gooey, tart, crisp apple pie...taste-bud heaven / Source: Wikipedia

You can’t do the short-cut with halvas. The penultimate Pakistani dessert, rich, velvety, sinfully sweet, synonymous with winter in my hometown Lahore – I can just smell the ghee and milk, the brown sugar, the cardamoms, saffron, almonds, carrots, semolina or chickpeas, depending on what kind of halva my mum was making that day, simmering for hours on the stove…I’ve yet to muster the courage to cook one of these on my own!

Piping hot, silky sweet Sooji ka Halva...drool / Source: Mammus Kitchen
  • Reading

This is, of course, one of the most enjoyable activities ever at any time of the day, any day of the year, but even more so on a day when you just want to wrap yourself up in a soft hand-me-down blanket  and not move. Not move, not think, just lose yourself in some fantastic world, centuries away, meandering and mysterious, rife with kings, queens, heroes, romance, magic…The Arabian Nights, The Lord of the Rings, The Alchemist, and fairytales of any kind rank high on my list. Current favourite is Samarkand by Amin Maalouf, a plum of cocoon-reading if there ever was one!

  • Origami

I bought an Origami Suncatchers Kit from Barnes & Noble on an impulse, and spent the next one week bent over a coffee table strewn with colourful glazed paper, glue and fishing string. Z would find me in the exact same position every time he came home from work – the house fell into a state of neglect, dinner was reduced to pita and hummus, episodes of the Colbert Report backed up…and voila! The prettiest things to have come out of a thoroughly home-bound day :)

  • Board Games

Maybe my 25+ friends think I’m geeky for still obsessing about board games, but I don’t care! It’s my dream to have a whole store of them one day, and host extravagant board game bashes every weekend. Can there be a better way to pass time with people on a blustery winter day? The blizzard would long be over before someone declared victory in Monopoly or Catan, and you’d look out of the window and say, “Hey, when did it stop snowing?” Such is the beauty of board games.

Collection in process

That’s one thing I miss about living in a dorm – willing game players were never in short supply. And what I miss even more are those nippy evenings in Lahore, when the whole troop of cousins would gather in front of a gas heater at our grandparent’s or eldest aunt’s house every Sunday for a religious contest of Ludo, Carom, Cluedo, PayDay, and as we got older, Pictionary, Tabboo, Cranium…

An intense 5-hour game of Monopoly in Ithaca

Well, stay warm, and enjoy your winter, folks! :)

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8 thoughts on “My favourite things to do on a blustery winter day

    Renee said:
    November 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Loving the post:) I love to read as well as have a hot cup of something in my hands. Every once in a while I will get the urge to bake, cookies, brownies, crisp, fruit breads, etc. Thanks for sharing!

    Suzanne said:
    November 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Love that origami! Pretty, & such a good idea.

    I’m glad I found your blog today :)

    Hammad said:
    November 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Interesting… :)

    Ugly Shoelace said:
    November 7, 2011 at 4:32 am

    Knitting and Reading and Origami and board games <3

    Zuhaib said:
    November 9, 2011 at 3:24 am

    Awesome n aesthetic as always…..I love da way u DROOOOOOOOL for your mum’s halwa :) hehe

    Amna K said:
    November 10, 2011 at 1:02 am

    I was expecting a Costa Rican post. But this was great too. Origami’s awesome. And never too old for Ludo we are.

    tsizzles said:
    November 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Great post! Might want to try some of these! I nominated you for an award. Please see my post about it.

    Bia said:
    December 14, 2011 at 5:15 am

    THE HALWA AND PIE LOOK AMAZING!!!!!! I miss you!!!!!

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