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The talk has started. It’s just a quiet murmur at the moment, but within a week it will be as loud as a cheerleader revving up the crowd for that extra point to win the game. I know it’s coming — it comes every year about this time. You can feel it bubbling just beneath the surface in the locker room as women put on layers and layers of clothes and then scarves, mitts, warm hats and gawd awful boots just to walk home.

Yes, it’s the time, no denying it or pretending it’s not here, Ann. The second week of January is just about the perfect moment for folks to start telling the tales of where they’re going to escape the cold and the grey and to shorten their winter however they may. There’s always a little whiff of bragging when it starts, like “Ha-ha I’m going and you’re not.”

Like today, in the hot tub, as we settled back luxuriating in the bubbles after a particularly energetic Sunday morning aquafit class — Thank You, Sue — H mentioned in passing, “Oh, we’re going to Cuba tomorrow morning.” Just like that, no big thing, as if she had said we’re going to Niagara Falls. She may have been planning this for a long time, but we didn’t know that. So it sounded just so spur of the moment, so “I’m tired of winter I’m leaving” which I think is a perfectly understandable excuse to chuck it all and go to Cuba. Of course, there were the expected “Oh, that’s great” from the rest of us followed by the usual questions: how long, where are you staying, are you going to Havana, etc. Now while this was enviable on this January grey-cold day, it wasn’t unexpected or out of the ordinary. You have to appreciate, that Canadians go to Cuba at the drop of a hat. I think they have claimed it as their own all these years thankful that it was one place on earth where they wouldn’t be mistaken for their neighbours to the South. I wonder  if they’ll stop using its as a winter destination now that those American are creeping in?

I must confess I did feel to a wee bit of longing when she said it. Beaches, sun, palm trees and more sun — what’s not to crave about that on these winter days? But I’m not going into that poor-me place this year, it’s not going to happen. I have vowed that I am just going to be genuinely, honestly, pleasantly happy hearing about other people’s jaunts to these temporary dips into paradise. Well, I might not be all of those things or even any of them, but I have learned — or I should have learned — that getting all sad and jealous of their trips like I have in the past hasn’t helped one bit.

Did it shorten the winter grey for me? No.

Did it get me out of Dodge? No.

Did it make me nicer to the cats? I hear a resounding NO, NO, NO from the back of the couch.

So, these two months that are left of Winter in Canada (I’m not going to say three, I’m not giving up on March, not going to happen), I will smilingly go into that locker room and pleasantly listen to all the stories of sun and beaches without whispering a syllable of discontent. Hmm, perhaps I better make sure that I have an extra supply of lightbulbs for my “Gee-This-Makes-Me Feel Better” light just in case.