25 cures for the wintertime blues

Recreation: Leaden skies don't have to spoil a sunny disposition. There's ice skating, needlework, fencing, art appreciation and an assortment of other things to do till the sun comes back. What about volunteering?

January 13, 2000|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Wondering why the winter blues are hitting you especially hard this year? Well, first of all, rather than enjoying the relatively mild weather we've have so far, you're probably worrying about when the snow and ice will finally hit here. Plus, you're dealing with the usual post-holiday letdown. Oh, and then there was that puny little buildup (only lasted a year or so) to a certain Millennium Moment that was supposed to hit like gangbusters and change all our lives . . . but didn't. That, of course, wouldn't have anything to do with why you're down in the dumps, would it?

Well, buck up, Baltimore. We've got 25 post-holiday pick-me-ups that are yours for the taking! Who says January and February have to be months that leave you feeling as gray as our skies often are? There are things to do, places to go and people to see -- all to help boost the beginning of your new century.

1. Cut a fine figure. Go ice skating at the Dominic "Mimi" DiPietro Family Skating Center at 200 S. Linwood Ave. in Patterson Park. Manager Bob Wall boasts that "our ice is considered [among] the best around," because it's formed on a concrete pad instead of sand, making it smoother than some other rinks. Public skating sessions are held Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Admission is $3, skate rental $2. The rink also offers hockey clinics for boys, girls and women, as well as group skating lessons and birthday packages.

2. Boost body and soul. Get into Gospel Aerobics at the Donnacize Inc. exercise studio at 3314 Greenmount Ave. in Waverly. Exercising to gospel music, says owner/instructor Donna Lynn, "inspires you to work out even harder." You can choose to take either the high- or low-impact route. Gospel Aerobics classes are held at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesdays. Gospel Toning, with dumbbells, toning bands and steps, takes place at 10 a.m. Thursdays. $6 per class. Call 410-662-7711.

3. Take the plunge! Not that kind of plunge, but one that will get your heart racing nonetheless. Take a dip in the icy waters of the Chesapeake for a good cause -- Special Olympics Maryland. It's the Fourth Annual Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, 2 p.m. Jan. 22 at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis. All you need is $50 in pledges and nerves of steel. To register, call 410-290-7611, go online at www.somd.org, or show up at noon.

4. Do dinner. Throw an Egalitarian Dinner Party. Invite eight to 10 good friends who are also good sports. Give each person or couple a list of groceries to bring. When they arrive, assign each to a cooking partner (other than the person he or she came with) and a work station. At each station, the team finds a recipe, all the equipment and the ingredients to make one course in your meal. Even those who think they don't like to cook will find this get-together a gas. You never knew having people over for dinner could be so much fun!

5. Appreciate art. Classic portraits and landscapes, this ain't. Not when the name of the show is "Kickin' It With the Old Masters." This exhibition of Baltimore artist Joyce Scott's joyful work opens Jan. 23 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. It features fanciful beaded jewelry and sculpture, fiber arts, prints, installations and performance art. You don't have to know art to like this stuff.

6. Tattoo you. Temporarily, anyway -- with the ancient Indian body art of mehndi, at the Usha Beauty Salon at 7712-B Harford Road, Parkville. Owner/mehndi artist Usha Gupta applies a henna paste in any number of patterns or shapes to give a temporary reddish-brown tattoo that will last for up to two weeks. Cost of the painless procedure depends on the intricacy of work, but most mehndis run about $15 to $20. Usha is open Monday through Saturday. Call 410-661-8204 to make an appointment.

7. Have an affair of the heart. Heartfest 2000, Jan. 22, not only raises money for research on the prevention and treatment of heart disease at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center, it also offers heart-healthy food from more than 20 Baltimore-area restaurants and caterers. There's even a celebrity heartthrob expected to be on hand, singer Harry Belafonte. The event takes place at Martin's West, 6817 Dogwood Road in Woodlawn, from 7: 30 p.m. to midnight. For tickets ($75), call 410-653-9968.

8. Climb out of a hole. If your blues come from being in the red, consider giving a call to the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Maryland-Delaware. This nonprofit organization offers free, confidential, nonjudgmental counseling. Its employees will help you set up a budget and get out of debt. They'll even contact your creditors to negotiate payment plans that are more manageable. Call 888-642-2227.

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