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Five Things to Do on a Cold Grey Day When You Don’t Have to Leave Your House

Most of us have been going through some bitingly cold days this winter. Along with the cold is the grey. Do you spell it grey or gray? Doesn’t matter, they’re both correct as in:

grey or gray?

Lighten up Henry. It's wicked cold outside.

Lighten up Henry. It’s wicked cold outside.

One can become easily distracted, feel out of sorts on a cold, grey day. I’m not from England but I want to spell grey that way today as I just did there. The key is to focus on at least five things. If you can do one, some, or all of them you’ll feel as if you’ve actually done something with all that time instead of wasting it.

  1. Look up useless and useful information on the internet.

See above with the grey/gray thing. Also did you know that in order to capture a screen shot on a Macbook, you Command, Shift 4? On Windows, you can find out how to do that here.

I have my Macbook connected to an old flatscreen television so that I can have two screens to move open windows back and forth as well as watch various channels (see below screen shots of Mel and Joaquin that I snapped while watching the movie, Signs. I just love that movie. It makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck in certain scenes plus the plots and sub-plots weaved together regarding faith, losing your way, things happening at just the right time, etc., are brilliant. Sorry, it’s that distraction thing) whilst I’m writing for work or pleasure or trying to come up with an interesting blog post.

Joaquin: I don't ever want to see your eyes like that again. I'm serious. Mel: We got bigger problems than my eyes. There are killer aliens everywhere.

Joaquin: I don’t ever want to see your eyes like that again. I’m serious.
Mel: We got bigger problems than my eyes. There are killer aliens everywhere.

I like to write by background noise—a good movie or show playing as I do. It’s an old habit from when I lived alone that was comforting to me. Oh, remember this scene?

Mel's wife: "Tell Merrill..." Mel: "What honey?" "Tell Merrill swing away."

Mel’s wife:
“Tell Merrill…”
Mel: “What honey?”
“Tell Merrill swing away.”

He has no idea what she means until the exact moment he needs to understand and Merrill (Joaquin) swings away.

That alien is going down.

That alien is going down.

So, you get the idea.

I’ve also learned how to apply paste wax to raw wood (project I did earlier) and watched a YouTube video about how to tile a bathroom.

Or find websites where you can get free stuff for your blog like here: 300 awesome free things: A massive list of free resources you should know.

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says "Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”  ― Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

“I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass

Or study up on how to record vocals on some software you may have on your computer, like I did.

Click here.

And here.

2. Write a short story from a prompt.

Let the prompt be something strange such as: I woke up this morning with blood on my hands. 

Here’s some of what I have so far:

I woke up this morning with blood on my hands. The window to our bedroom is open and the wind is blowing, causing the shade to thwap, thwap against the casing.

I listen. My hands—reddish black blotches on most of my fingers and half moon shapes on either palm, as  if I’d clapped them—make a shish, shish sound when I rub them together. Flakes fall on the clean white sheets I washed yesterday. I brush them off, get up. I stand, pressing the backs of my knees against the mattress as the bed creaks and rolls forward slightly. One of the rollers on the frame is broken and can’t be locked. I knock my toe on the harsh, hard metal nearly every morning. But not this morning. I’m extra careful.

I tiptoe to the bathroom, humming a song about it being a beautiful day. Don’t let it get away!

I turn the faucet on, put my hand underneath it, and wait for the water to get hot. I squirt some soap out of a tube of lavender something promising beautiful skin and scrub my hands. Scrub, scrub. A rust color runs from them, down the drain. Disappears.

Faucet off. Strip off my clothes. Run my still wet hands through my hair. I tell myself what to do as I do it. There’s just this, this right now. I stare at my reflection in the mirror above the sink.


3. Reupholster/re-cover a chair. Organize a closet. Make lists of what you plan to accomplish this week/month/year.

Do something physical and mentally challenging. Reaching, stretching, contemplating, strategizing, mind-mapping. All good things for the mind, body and spirit. You may just find your true métier while doing so. That’s what I’m banking on.

From this:

Flea Market Find.

Flea Market Find.

To this:

Lots of stapling, pulling, hammering for a modern twist on an old chair.

Lots of stapling, pulling, hammering for a modern twist on an old chair.

4. Call someone you love. 

This is a telephone. You call people and talk into it.

This is a telephone. You call people and talk into it.

Don’t email or text or update your Facebook page. Call your Mom or a friend or someone you haven’t talked to in awhile, someone you love and care about. Tell them you love them. Talk to them as long as they want. Ask them questions. You’ll feel better and most likely, learn something.

5. Read a good book and practice gratitude.

Is there anything better than reading a fantastic book when it’s cold and grey outside? Soaking up some words that resonant with your soul? It’s one of my favorite things to do. I light a fire, cuddle up with my pups and read. When I’m reading a great book, a passage will undoubtedly make me pause because it’s so exquisite—the words, structure, pacing, and thought behind them—it reminds me of why I keep trying to do the same. Then I’m reminded of how much I have—right now—in front of me. And I’m just so grateful.

Even for these cold, grey days.

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”  ― Edith Sitwell

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
― Edith Sitwell

What are some things you do when you’re stuck, whether by choice or not, inside on a cold, grey day by yourself? Read any good books lately? What are some of your favorite cold, grey day go-to movies?

About Brigitte



38 thoughts on “Five Things to Do on a Cold Grey Day When You Don’t Have to Leave Your House

  1. Made me smile. Vancouver has just enjoyed one of the warmest winters on record so have been lacking in those grey cold days of which you speak. I find myself missing them a bit. As much as I loathed the winters in Manitoba I did enjoy those intense wild and wooly blizzards that would grind the city to a halt and all would be quiet and peaceful until the plows got through.
    Hope the sun and warmth breaks through soon.

    Posted by author | March 4, 2015, 9:45 am
    • Donnae! How great to see you again. It has most definitely broken through here, it’s in the 70s today. But, when I wrote this post a day ago, it was cold and grey. I’m also commiserating with some of my friends and blogger buds who live in places where those winter snows just won’t stop. I do miss those quiet, reverent-like snow days when I lived in the Northeast, but not for weeks on end! Hope your travels are going well and thanks so much for stopping in.

      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 9:57 am
  2. Hilarious, Brigitte! Like you, I surf the internet or shop online! Or play the piano, or go in my studio and photograph something or work out on my indoor bike trainer. My favorite movie for working out right now is “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It’s funny and has great music. Mama Mia also works really well. Great chairs, by the way!

    Posted by Cathy Ulrich | March 4, 2015, 9:50 am
    • Thanks, Cathy. You sound like me, in that I flit from here to there until I once and for all, finally settle. I’ve not seen Guardians of the Galaxy but if it’s good music then I must put it on my list. I sometimes read while on the treadmill and then have a favorite movie or show going on my iPhone — all at the same time. I bet Mama Mia would be inspiring to work out to. I now have that song stuck in my head. Ha! Glad you like the chairs. They look pretty fabulous with a round, wooden table and bright white walls. Happy Wednesday.

      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 10:01 am
  3. I spell it “grey.”

    Looking up information on the internet is a death-spiral for me. I can do that for extended stretches, bouncing from link to link as I disappear down the rabbit hole. I actually have to curtail my time spend doing that.

    Reading on a grey/rainy day is a good idea. I don’t read enough. I’m usually so behind in my work (like now) that I spend all day doing that.

    Practicing gratitude is always a good way to spend your time. I do a bit of that, but not nearly enough.

    Posted by Smaktakula | March 4, 2015, 11:14 am
    • Yes, I prefer grey that way too. A death spiral doesn’t sound productive, Smak. I was reading how Benjamin Franklin was a freak about scheduling his day — he always mapped out and allotted a specific amount of time for this, for that, etc. I think that’s the only way to avoid going down the rabbit hole. Thanks for stopping by as always. Now, get back to work.

      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 1:58 pm
  4. I particularly like your number, and I think spelling grey with an e evokes the sense of grey better than gray with an a which seems happier.

    It has been grey and cold here–I finally got out for a morning walk this morning–but it was taking life in my own hands as there were slippery spots you could not see until you were in the middle–so I walked on the road–damn the traffic!

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | March 4, 2015, 11:30 am
  5. Great post, Brigitte! I’m also digging the chairs, along with the green rug. What a great flea market find! A perfect grey day project.
    Stay warm!

    Posted by Theadora Brack | March 4, 2015, 12:24 pm
  6. All great ways to spend your time. (The chairs look great!) I’m sticking to the writing one for now. Though I’m desperate for spring, I’m kind of glad not to have the enticing distraction of beautiful weather, because I’ve been working like a fiend to finish my third book. I only have three chapters left. Should finish by this weekend. Yay! Then comes the editing part which I actually love. I feel now that the story is out there, I can sit back and enjoy tweaking it.

    Good books I’ve read lately? I just finished The Girl on the Train. Loved it!!

    Posted by Carrie Rubin | March 4, 2015, 12:46 pm
    • Thanks, Carrie. I love upcycling, as it’s called now. Most are desperate for spring I think. Especially you guys up in those normally-cold-during-this-time-of-year places. Extra cold for some of my blogger buds and I know it’s getting really old. Wow! Only three chapters!!! Where is your second book? Your first was great so I look forward to reading more, Carrie.

      I just finished The Girl on the Train too and it was great! I’m reading Wild on my iPad and Everything I Never Told you by Celeste Ng. It’s good — both are. I read The Secret History by Tartt. Good, but disturbing — kind of Salinger-ish. It’s over 500 pages!

      Congrats and good luck on that tweaking. 😉

      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 2:05 pm
  7. It’s back to being sunny today but it was definitely cold and grey (I like this spelling better too) a few days ago. And rainy! Us Californians don’t get that often so I’m sure I wasn’t the only one rejoicing in the change of weather. (Believe it or not, sunny days on end can get a bit monotonous for me.) On gloomy days, I like putting on some mellow music and surfing the internet. Or sitting back in my chair and just thinking. I do that a lot already but something about grey days really gets the mind moving.

    Posted by lillianccc | March 4, 2015, 2:11 pm
    • Lillian, same here. I feel guilty for even posting this now because it’s 72 and sunny outside. When I wrote it, it wasn’t! I know exactly what you mean. Being near the beach and Charleston, it’s sunny here a lot too once the season of that arrives (and it’s close) and I’ve said that as well. Too much of anything can be monotonous, including the sun. I happen to love thunderstorms, big claps of thunder and raging sheets of rain. As long as I’m inside, that is. Thanks for stopping in. Hope things are wonderful in your world.

      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 2:15 pm
  8. This is a great post! I’ve never seen Signs. I want more of that short story. and Brava on the chairs. We need worse weather here so I can get stuff done. 🙂

    Posted by Maggie O'C | March 4, 2015, 4:08 pm
    • Hey Maggie, well I’ve got nothing to complain about today. Sunny and in the 70s. You simply have to watch Signs! Glad you enjoyed the short short story and yeah I’m digging the chairs. Thank you Maggie. I expect a weather report from the islands. Will you play beach blanket bingo?


      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 4:54 pm
  9. I love this post. You’re a resourceful gal! Is that your voice singing hello?

    I am tired. Everyone up here has the super duper blahs. It’s awful. I actually met a friend at 7am yesterday to walk along the lake. It was 7 degrees out– that’s how desperate we are.

    My husband and I watched a Walking Dead Marathon a few eek ds ago. We never do stuff like that. I felt like s&$t after. I actually had to stop watching as he kept going. It was too much. I wish I could say I was clever and imaginative like you, but I’m not. BUT the reading is good and the baking…and the lbs haaaa. My butt be humongous.

    Keep the short story going.

    I love Signs too. I love Mel. I love Thor too. Haaa just through thAt in there like you need to know that. Ok enough silliness. Peace out, homeslice.

    Posted by UpChuckingwords | March 4, 2015, 4:34 pm
    • Thanks, A. That is my voice — both the hello and the other one. It must suck because you are the only person who has commented about it — ha! I don’t think people hear themselves the way others do.

      My family is having the same kind of weather. My sis said it was freezing rain and in the 20s and it was going to be 9 degrees there tonight. I won’t tell you what it is here. I texted my sis and her response was… Well you can imagine. ;).

      I remember those winters but I don’t remember them being as long as what you’ve been experiencing. A Walking Dead marathon. I’ve never seen that show because zombies freak me out. Stop watching that when it’s cold and dark out.

      You are clever and imaginative, your butt isn’t humongous and of course you like Signs because you have excellent taste. Be brave little soldier. That Shiz-nit has got to melt sooner or later.

      Peace out soul sista.


      Posted by Brigitte | March 4, 2015, 5:03 pm
  10. Like Audra, I was wondering if that was your voice, too. I agree that it’s melodious. I bet you can carry a tune. Mine is a deep monotone that serves best at dropping one or just spewing snark. I was surprised that I did not hear any hint of a southern accent. I was housebound most of Sunday when it snowed. I was productive, but this wicked winter has worn out its welcome with me. Tomorrow’s forecast in Gotham City is for somewhere between four and eight inches of snow adding to the misery. Thanks for explaining grey/gray. I have often wondered about that, but I never got around to Googling it. And now I know thanks to you!

    Posted by lameadventures | March 4, 2015, 11:14 pm
    • Yep, that’s me. I was playing around with GarageBand and there’s other things you can do with your voice. And thank you. I did sing in school but alas, the tune I carried didn’t take me anywhere. You are so funny, V (spewing snarky). I guess I left home so young and lived different places, I lost most of it. Snippets will come out when I’m angry or have a couple of glasses of wine. I can turn it on full force if I want and also, I speak Brooklyn as well (think the real housewives of New Jersey). I really wish this winter stuff would stop — my heart goes out to all of you suffering from it. Enough is enough already! Just think how much sweeter the spring will be, although I know that’s not much solace now, but to coin a phrase from that little redhead: “The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow…” tomorrow, tomorrow. I bet you want to hit me right now.


      Posted by Brigitte | March 5, 2015, 10:12 am
  11. I remember that “Signs” movie. That’s when Joaquin looked rather normal and talked. I liked that movie. I especially like curling up with a book on a gre(a)y day. You know I haven’t had those circumstances recently, but when I do, I always want to read and/or watch movies and eat popcorn. You have a beautiful voice, Brigitte!

    Posted by Amy Reese | March 5, 2015, 12:20 am
    • He did look normal in that. Not sure what happened to Joe-Quin but I love that movie. That’s when M. Night Shyamalan was making good movies before that really weird one came out and we’ve not heard from him since. Me too with the popcorn and movies! It’s the best. And thank you, Amy. 🙂

      Posted by Brigitte | March 5, 2015, 10:16 am
  12. A nap is always good on a cold, grey stormy afternoon. And a good book is a good book at any time. 🙂 –Curt

    Posted by Curt Mekemson | March 5, 2015, 6:54 pm
  13. This is a great post. A great list of things to do and great humor. I sometimes love those gray days because I can use them as an excuse to do something that I usually won’t dedicate time to–working a jigsaw puzzle, perhaps, or just reading without guilt.

    Posted by Good Woman | March 9, 2015, 8:54 am
    • Hi Helen Elizabeth and welcome! Isn’t that true? Grey days usually make us want to do something creative that we’ve been putting off. Another impetus to get things done is when you’re having visitors — that always kicks it into high gear for me. Thanks so much for stopping in and I hope you’ll visit again.

      Posted by Brigitte | March 9, 2015, 2:35 pm
  14. I Like to snuggle with beautiful wife and our two dogs or cook a nice dinner. Your projects always turn out perfect. Great start to a story. I am always amazed by the quotes that you find. I love you

    Posted by Jeff | March 16, 2015, 10:23 pm

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