I’ve mentioned elsewhere my enjoyment of cold, flavored coffee. And that when the occasion warrants, I’ll microwave it and drink it hot. It’s no big deal, but it is something I still look forward to every morning. It’s not just a necessary starter fluid for my brain, it’s a treat. I like treats.
In really cold weather I used to add hot chocolate mix to my coffee, or drink it plain. Lots of hot chocolate. But since I’ve lost my tolerance for massive quantities of chocolate, and since I seem to be more susceptible to cold in the post-menopausal world I now live in, I’ve had to find an alternative hot beverage. Of course there’s always more coffee, and straight de-caf for later in the day, but one of my new co-workers kept saying, “drink hot tea.” I’ve never been a big hot tea drinker, but that’s more about me always being easily overheated than anything else. I remembered a few teas that I liked — even hot — and, of course, they were “flavored” teas. (The common term is “herbal” tea.) I once found a variety in Austin called Mint Magic that I liked, but couldn’t find it in any local stores, so I had my friend, Tresha, bring me a couple of boxes when we met in Houston a few weeks ago to go to the Museum on Natural Science (my favorite place on the planet — have I mentioned that?). Then I discovered that Coffemate had a new flavor called Honey Vanilla Creme, which goes perfectly with the mint tea and my other favorite flavor, Sleepytime Green Tea. Yum. These are now my evening treats.
Cold weather tends to bring on a rash of dry skin, and in the afore-mentioned post-menopausal world where I now live, the cold feels colder and the dry feels dryer. Woe is me. I could foresee gallons of body lotion in my future. But wait. When I was living in Kentucky and going to a massage therapist for my aching back, she told me “use oil.” It worked in Kentucky (where it was a bit colder than in central Texas), but was always a bit too much for winters here — until now. It’s not necessary to go out and spend a lot of money on fancy body oils — baby oil works fine. And there’s a baby oil gel that’s even better. It’s even possible to add some fragrance, if you’re like me and have a few little vials of “essential oil.” That’s the stuff aromatherapists use to make their magic mood modifiers. I just like to wear it. The nice thing about using plain baby oil gel is that I can use different fragrances or none at all, and still take care of the dry itchy skin. I just put a drop of patchouli, gardenia, or Egyptian musk oil in the palm of my hand, and then a glob of the baby oil gel. Another treat, this time for my nose.
I almost can’t remember a winter when I didn’t get up in the mornings with stiff joints and some back pain. Bleah. No likee. I found ways to alleviate some of the pain, and have written about those here. I still have a lot of motivation to keep up with the bicycle crunches several nights a week. If I take a break of longer than two or three nights, I wake up more often during the night, and I have the creaky back in the morning. So over the months since I started doing them, I’ve kept up with at least two sets of 50 crunches before I go to sleep. I do some other stretches and whatnot during the day when I’m upright, and now I’m a little less flabby than I was when I moved back down here from Kentucky. And this is a treat for my ego. But let me tell you, the real treat is when I bend over to open The Puppy’s crate in the mornings and my back no longer starts screaming “NNNOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” It puts a whole new flavor on the day.