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Natale: Winter’s unexpected indoor fun

Well we’ve made it through January with very little snow but fiercely cold temperatures! Too cold to be outside for very long, so what is a body to do in winter?

Not being much of an athlete, I’m not into outdoor sports unless you count football, and after the NFL season is over I’m done, although I do envy the athletic types braving the cold and ice as I see them skating, skiing, and obviously enjoying themselves. Did I just admit that? So, I limit myself to what works for me – walking my dog, reading, movies, reminding me that the Oscars are right around the corner – “Lincoln”, “Argo”, “Les Miserables”, and “Zero Dark 30.”

The furnace kicks in with a low rumble as I watch the day ebb. It’s the sound of warmth on a cold winter night, almost musical in its monotonous hum, time for comfort food or takeout and what a selection of places to choose from all right here in our town from hot dogs at Duchess to sushi at Tengda’s in Goodwives, the venerable Chuck’s Steak House, or my favorite place for take-out to prepare at home — Frate’s Seafood, where can you buy the freshest fish, the best cuts of beef, those awesome Italian cookies at Easter and unique boutique-style gifts at Christmas and year round.

If you need spices or sauces or marinades, you can find them here too. And my personal favorite — the best pies (try the fruits of the forest.)

For a little entertainment with your dinner, here’s a quiz:  what do the following books have in common? “The Lion and the Mouse” (2010), “The House in the Night” (2009), “Grandfather’s Journey” (1994), “Owl Moon” (1988), “The Polar Express” (1986), “Where the Wild Things Are” (1964) and “Make Way for Ducklings” (1942)?

No clue?

Well, they are all winners of the prestigious Randolph Caldecott Award — bestowed annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children, and the Darien Library now has copies of every book that ever won this award going back to the first one in 1938 — and they are getting ready to announce the winner for 2012.

What a great reason for visiting our wonderful library — and getting out of the cold!

The best indoor pleasure? A 15-minute chair massage I had at my office last Friday. The unexpected surprise came from finding out that the masseuse, Maria Amendolia, is right here in town! Who knew? She is the owner of Take Shape Massage Therapy & Fitness Consulting  located above The Goose and accessed between The Goose and CVS! She does not advertise but does her job by word-of-mouth! Try it — best 15 minutes of the week.

And now, refreshed, energized, de-stressed, we’re ready for the game, the dips, the chips, the score, and the “pool.” It’s Super Bowl! Dare I say “go Ravens?”

Nanci Natale is a lifelong Darien resident, photographer, poet, accomplished gardener, cook and artist. Her poetry has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Bellowing Ark and others publications.

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