Natasha’s Challenge


Natasha and I have a new Saturday morning routine. We are mall walkers. Food court at 8:30 a.m. is where we meet. Natasha sets her Gym Boss, I start the pedometer on the cell phone and off we go for three laps around the inside caverns of the mall. As we solve the world’s problems and a few of our own on this walk, the colors of clothes, shoes and underwear pass us by and the undelightful smell of Abercrombie & Fitch’s force-fed cologne makes us gag. We plug our collective noses and carry on, knowing that there are pancakes waiting as our reward.

Yes, pancakes with pecans and blueberries and syrup. Why do you think we walk? (Andra, I hope pancakes are waiting for you at the end of the Trace. And fried chicken.)

As we were walking into Blueberry Hill Pancake House, Natasha threw down a writing challenge: “I want you to write something nice about winter.” My reply: “Really? I haven’t been whining about winter. I’ve been good.” Natasha agreed that I had been a lot less whiny about the cold and snow in recent weeks. I told her I’d think about a happy little winter post.

Happy little winter. Reminds me of Bob Ross when he would paint happy little suns and happy little trees and happy little clouds. I don’t remember Bob ever painting a happy little winter.

Anyhow, I’m procrastinating. There are other current challenges that would allow me to circumvent.


1) Margaret Rose challenged her readers to write about liver – like it or loathe it. Well, I loathe it. My post would consist of blech, blech, blech, blech and more blech. Blech times a million. I have tried to eat liver in various presentations at various venues, but I end up wanting to feed it to the cats or the garbage pail. Blech.

2) Weekly Writing Challenge-Threes:  Wasn’t that the photo challenge a couple of weeks ago? It sure was. This week, the challenge is to write a story based on three photos or pictures. Up to this point, Natasha’s Challenge contains a picture of mall walkers and a picture of someone trying to keep the liver down. I would need a third Google-searched picture and a cohesive story to bring it all together.

Hmmmmmmm…thinking, thinking, thinking…*sigh*

I guess I’m back to winter. Write something nice about winter. Happy little winter.


It appears Bob did know winter on his canvas. Pretty little picture. It is a reflection of a warm hearth and warm heart on a winter’s day.

Truth be told, I would not be without winter and the first snowfall; a fresh white blanket on Christmas Eve; the powder that beckons skiers to the black diamond hill; the sunlight gleaming off the ice-glazed mounds of snow; the crisp, clear air that tingles the nostrils. Winter brings warm fuzzy blankets and heaping mounds of comfort food (or pancakes) to help warm the body and soul. Coffee and tea steam warmth into the face of its drinkers. Ice skating rinks and sledding hills are filled with laughing children and adults. Neighbors help shovel neighbors’ sidewalks. Winter is the wonder of a thermostat that keeps us warm and the impressions of a snow angel left behind. Winter is the wonderful season of snowblowers, snowshoes, ice shanties and sculptures, woolen mittens and a knitted Green Bay Packer hat. Winter gives life a chance to sleep between the flannel sheets until it’s time to praise spring.

Happy little spring.

Winter continues to exist in my world and I continue to live and breathe in it. A warm-up is on the forecast, which is actually closer to normal. I’ll take it. A high of 30 degrees will feel like summer on my face and give renewed hope that winter is beginning to lose its grip. I may have to get a T-shirt that reads, “I survived Wintermegeddon 2014!” I’ll wear it when Natasha and I are able to give up the mall walking for street walking, call winter over, and bitch about how 85 degrees is too hot.

And when the sweaty walk is over, we’ll head to the air-conditioned Blueberry Hill and have pancakes.

14 responses to Natasha’s Challenge

  1. A happy little cabin in a happy little snow covered holler. That is (excuse the expression) picture perfect. I think you did a wonderful job extolling the virtues of winter. Oh, and I’m with you on this week’s writing challenge. Enough of the ‘threes’. 😉

  2. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    This happy little winter better turn into a happier little summer! I used to work in a mall and watched those groups do the mall walking for exercise, then go eat at Friendly’s for breakfast. Funny.

  3. I must confess that for the most part, I like winter. It also makes me appreciate spring all the more, then summer, then….

    As for the liver challenge, you might enjoy my response done in limericks. 🙂


    • bikerchick57 says:

      I will be appreciating spring tenfold this year and I’ll be sure to check out your limerick later today.

      • It’s been a long, hard winter in Chicago this year with lots more snow than usual and bitter cold. Today the sun’s out and it’s going to be in around 20, which looks pretty good but tomorrow, into the 40’s!! Woo, hoo! I’m starting to get a bit of spring fever and am ready to get outside to walk without being completely bundled up.

  4. litadoolan says:

    I wish our UK malls were big enough to make mall walking fun! This looks great. There are no pancakes here either ;-(

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