It’s been winter forever. There’s a thick layer of salt encrusted on your shoes and a layer of despair on your soul. Before you hang yourself why not revisit the original winter wonderland? Your home!

You’re so depressed you’d have to cheer up to have the blues.  Staying home devising fun activities ain’t gonna cut it. You need to get out of town before news reports start referring to you by your three given names.

If you’re lucky enough to have a real kitchen and not some randomly assembled tiles around a stainless steel sink, you can actually take advantage of all that at home time and create something besides restaurant-incurred debt. Cooking is a great date activity (provided you can avoid tearing each other apart over the difference between a pinch and a drizzle). For those who like to do things by the book, a well-written recipe collection with historical context and big glossy pictures of foreign lands makes culinary adventures into a sort of day trip — without all the bickering over driving directions and hotel accommodations. A good place to start is the book The Pleasures of Slow Food (Corby Kummer, 2002, Chronicle Books). Order it from alibris.com and you won’t have to leave the house at all. For fresh Middle-Eastern themed ingredients like olives, feta, dates, figs and pita bread try Sahadi’s grocery (187 Atlantic Avenue, 718 624-4550).

For those of you with studio apartments the living room is everywhere and nowhere, but no matter what constitutes your leisure area, certain entertainment strategies are essential for keeping your sanity intact. Remember July, when spending time at your apartment felt like solitary confinement? Appreciate your hovel’s hominess while you can. Rediscover simple pleasures, like listening to albums. Listen to a whole CD. From start to finish…in order. I’ve been digging the Fiery Furnaces’ Blueberry Boat recently, a baffling beautifully constructed dip in the stream of consciousness. Another thing apartments are good for is smoking. Yup in this crazy mixed up world where even Romans are being asked to butt out, a good smoke is still, and for my money will forever remain, a good smoke.

The Fiery Furnaces CD (and much much more) are available at Other Music, 15 E 4th  Street, 212 477-8150; Cigarettes can be had for cheap at smokeytown.com, surprise tax bill from Bloomberg not included.

Ok stop snickering. Yes there’s that, but the bedroom isn’t just about sex. It’s a place to reflect upon the day’s accomplishments and disapoints away from the cacophony of inflated expectations. All right who are we kidding, getting your rocks off as icicles form outside your cold window is a great way to pass the time. But frankly, many of us look better in May than February, what with all that dry, pale skin and itchy scalp. Moisturizers are a must this time of year, (The Bathroom, 94 Chambers, or Kiehls, 109 Third Avenue) and if that porcelain white skin matches the snowflakes falling outside in a less than appealing way, try a blast of UV light on a tanning bed, available at tanningbeds4less.com. Look like George Hamilton year round! If space is an issue it can double as a crypt-like bed… just be careful you don’t stay in too long (see Watermelon Man film p 42). If all else fails, creative (IE obsessively dim) lighting can do wonders for your complexion.

You can’t go out tonight. You have stuff to do… writing and stuff, or working on that song, making sketches, choreographing that dance piece… or, or, or. Having trouble getting motivated? When you finally get alone do you find yourself scrubbing the floor instead of scouring your brain for useful ideas? Well you could blame your work area. Desks, chairs, binders, organizers and excuse-obliterators of every stripe await at everyone’s favorite Scandanavian design emporium IKEA (call 1 800 434 4532 for delivery). If the problem is deeper I suggest considering your own shadow of mortality as catalyst to action. A great source of morbid inspiration to get off your ass and finish that unpublishable novel is watching a weepy, “living every day as if it was my last story”. Bang the Drum Slowly is a little-seen baseball flick featuring none other than Robert De Niro. Failing that you can drown yourself in a cocktail of rye and regret with a chaser of self-delusion. Bottle Shoppe delivers the former: 718-303-3433.


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