Dance party. We’re all lacking in sunshine and vitamin D and endorphins and laughter and happiness and all those things we take for granted in July, so turn on your favorite dance jams, dim the lights, kick off your shoes and give the finger to the weather. Daft Punk, Donna Summer, L’il Wayne, whatever. Ain’t no party like a cold snap party ’cause a cold snap party is a desperate plea for anything other than the Lars Von Trier movie that is the weather outside.
Random cooking experiments. Examine your pantry and fridge, see what’s in there and see what you can make with what you’ve got. Get creative. I’m a huge fan of the Google recipe search function, because you can plug in various ingredients and see what you come up with. Pistachios, corn meal, strawberry jam and half and half? You can make something work. If whatever you made is awesome, great, you just made everyone at home really happy. If it sucks, well, oh well! You just spent an hour in a warm kitchen. Could be worse. Give the food to the dog. Dog don’t care. Dog eat anything. Dog easy to please. Dog just happy to be here, and not outside. Dog just wait here for more food. You no worry about Dog. Dog thank you.
Make a blanket fort! Drag out all the extra sheets and blankets and comforters and pillows and whatever soft things you’ve got in the linen closet, and grab clothespins or chip clips or binder clips or whatever else you’ve got laying around. Drape and arrange it all on top of chairs and sofas until you’ve created your own little fortress. Climb inside with snacks and drinks and flashlights. Don’t leave until Monday, if not March.
Beauty school. This one is for the ladies (or the open-minded men). First off, try deep-conditioning your hair, with either conditioner you might have, or with olive oil or coconut oil. Exfoliate your skin, too, with your own product or with a mixture of sugar and olive oil. Get all your makeup and hair products out and go to town. Do the things you’ve always wanted to do with makeup, be it a heavy-lidded 1960s mod look, a sun-kissed 70s beach babe, neon-colored 80s or dark-lipped 90s rocker chick. Flat iron or curl your hair. Find an outfit too. Take pictures. Post them on Facebook. Hilarious.
Science experiments. Boil a couple of pots of water and throw them into the air outside and watch it freeze immediately. Add food coloring to water balloons, put them outside to freeze, then cut the balloons off and have big rainbow marbles on the porch. Blow bubbles outside and watch them freeze. Boy, what a riot that sounds like. It’s the little things, isn’t it?
Remove pilling or lint from sweaters and other garments with a razor. Seriously, it works. Take a regular disposable razor and do it to everything. Removes it like it ain’t no thang. Amazing.
WIKIPEDIA RACE. For this, you will need a partner, and two computers, phones or tablets. Each pick a completely random, unrelated Wikipedia page and see how fast you can get to the other person’s topic. Oh, how you will laugh.
Write fanfic; short stories featuring characters you love, real or fake. Pick a favorite character from fiction or history, be it Abraham Lincoln, Han Solo, Twilight Sparkle, The Onion’s depiction of Vice President Joe Biden, Hulk Hogan or whoever. Write a story about them. It doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to be G-rated. They can be in space. They can be in the Wild West. You’re allowed to have Paul Bunyan battling Cylons. You can delete it afterwards. Nobody will know.
Netflix movie or TV marathon. Haven’t yet gotten around to watching “House of Cards,” “Breaking Bad,” or “Orange Is The New Black”? Now’s your chance. Never seen “Twin Peaks” or haven’t watched it in over a decade? Queue it up! Or just dive into random episodes of “The X-Files” or “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” or “Dr. Who.” Or perhaps feature a specific director or genre: a documentary festival, with music docs like the poignant “Levon Helm: Ain’t In It For My Health” and the inspiring “A Band Called Death,” or biographical portraits like the oddball artist that’s the subject of “Beauty Is Embarrassing” or the hypnotic puzzle piece that is “Deceptive Practice: The Ricky Jay Story.” A 1990s auteur night, featuring “Pulp Fiction,” and “Fargo.” Movie musicals like “Singin’ In the Rain” or “Mary Poppins.” 1980s action flicks like “Big Trouble In Little China” and “Highlander” — doesn’t that sound fun?
Hot toddies. For the grownups, why not try raiding your liquor cabinet and seeing what fantastic new concoctions you can come up with? Hot toddies are always good this time of year, and there are so many different way to make them — though I have yet to see a toddy made with vodka or gin that sounds at all tasty. If you’ve got whiskey or bourbon, brandy, rum or tequila, you’re in good shape. Grab cinnamon, cloves, ginger or ginger ale, honey, lemons and limes, whatever black tea you’ve got lying around, and bitters, if you have those too. Mix the hot water and alcohol, and then start adding ingredients one by one and taste each time to see how you like it. Freestyle it. Once you hit on something that you like, drink that. Watch your cares melt away.